DUBAI (Reuters) - Novak Djokovic defeated fourth-seeded Spaniard David Ferrer 7-5 6-3 on Saturday to win the Dubai Championships.
It was the top-seeded Serbian’s 12th title and his first since he won the Tennis Masters Cup in November, and came after he was stopped in the Marseille semi-finals last week by eventual champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Djokovic had fallen in the 2007 Dubai quarter-finals to Roger Federer and in the 2008 semi-finals to Andy Roddick, who both went on to take the title.
Officials had to remove a light covering of sand from the court with brooms and blowers before Saturday’s final could start.
When play got underway in sultry conditions there was little to choose between the two baseliners.
Most of the games went easily with serve until Djokovic broke the deadlock when Ferrer netted a forehand after a long rally to give the Serbian a 4-2 lead.
Djokovic was unable to maintain his advantage, though, netting a backhand in the next game after another lengthy rally.
Djokovic broke again to lead 5-3 but, having the opportunity to serve out the set, he dropped the next eight points. In a bizarre turnaround, Djokovic won eight of the next nine points to take the set when Ferrer netted a low backhand volley.
Djokovic made a good start to the second set, breaking to lead 2-0 when Ferrer again netted a low volley.
Ferrer, who was seeking his first title since winning S’Hertogenbosch last year, appeared to be heading to an easy defeat as he trailed 4-1, but he pulled himself back into contention by breaking for 4-3.
A double-fault cost him his serve in the next game and left Djokovic to serve out the match.
In a dramatic finale Ferrer then held a break point but made a forehand error and Djokovic clinched victory when he disputed a serve that was called wide but Hawkeye showed it to be an ace.
Editing by Clare Fallon