DUBAI (Reuters) - World number one Roger Federer defeated unseeded Russian Mikhail Youzhny 6-4 6-3 on Saturday to win his fourth Dubai Open title in five years.
It was also the top seed’s 41st consecutive win, stretching back to the start of the U.S. Open in August, equaling the record of Swede Bjorn Borg who witnessed the feat.
“It’s feels very nice,” said Federer. “The matches were extremely tough here this week. I thought all my opponents played very well against me, so to come through as I did against Mikhail tonight, I think that’s to be rated very high.”
Youzhny, who upset Spanish title holder Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals, was seeking his second crown in two weeks after winning in Rotterdam but he could not prevent Federer claiming his seventh straight title.
The Swiss had several times started slowly during the week and did so again in the final, dropping his serve in the opening game when Youzhny hit a winning return off a second serve.
But Federer held his second service game with an ace and then leveled at 2-2 when Youzhny hit a double-fault.
As both players mixed floating shots with occasional power, Federer broke to take a 5-3 lead when Youzhny netted a backhand.
Although Federer failed to serve out the set, Youzhny dropped his serve for a third time when he netted a backhand approach.
Federer then took advantage of his deflated opponent by allowing the Russian just three points in the opening three games of the second set.
Federer went on to hold a multitude of break points, failing to win four at 4-1 and then five match points on Youzhny’s serve at 5-2, before clinching victory on his seventh match point.
“I think he’s playing very well, and I really played extremely well at the right moments once again,” Federer said.
“Tonight, to come through and get the title back from losing it last year, it’s a great feeling. I’m still on an incredible run and haven’t lost for many months, so I hope I can keep this up in the States.”
Youzhny thought nothing of his 2-0 lead in the first set, and said he had made things difficult by not serving well.
“When you play against Roger you understand you can be 5-0 and the set is not finished,” said Youzhny.
“I tried to play every point well but I had a very bad percentage on my first serve. I need to improve my serve if I want to be a little bit close to him.”