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Breaking Down Roger Federer's Dubai Open Victory

Trevor Murray@@TrevorM90Contributor IMarch 2, 2015

Roger Federer stormed to his seventh Dubai title with victory over Novak Djokovic.
Roger Federer stormed to his seventh Dubai title with victory over Novak Djokovic.Kamran Jebreili/Associated Press

Resilience is often one of sport's most lauded abilities, and Roger Federer is continuing to prove he's the master of it. Winning his seventh Dubai Open title in style, he reignited the belief that 2015 could be a huge year for the Swiss star.

Overcoming Novak Djokovic in the final 6-3 7-5, the Swiss star made light work of what's normally an intense battle.ย 

Before the showpiece event, the 33-year-old also beat Borna Coric, Richard Gasquet, Fernando Verdasco and Mikhail Youzhny to ensure he remained on course to take home his second piece of silverware in 2015.

All in all, it was a great tournament for Federer, as he showed us all what we had been missing earlier in the year. Back with a bang, he played some tremendous tennis, even managing to serve the 9,000th ace of his career, an achievement that was honoured in style by the Dubai Tennis Championship's Twitter account.

Dubai Tennis Champs @DDFTennis

In true @rogerfederer style, we've tried to sum Roger's #DDFtennis week here in Dubai in emojis. โœˆ๏ธ๐Ÿ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽฅ๐Ÿ“ท๐Ÿ“น๐ŸŽพ๐Ÿ˜ท๐ŸŽพ๐ŸŽพ๐ŸŽพ9โƒฃ0โƒฃ0โƒฃ0โƒฃ๐ŸŽพ๐Ÿ‘๐ŸŽ‰๐Ÿ†โ›ต๏ธ

No doubt, he will have gone some distance to restoring faith in his ability to mix it with the best and the new.

But just how did he do it, and what does it really mean for his future?

Federer Has Recovered from Aussie Open Heartbreak

January was a torrid month for the world No. 2. Dumped out of the Australian Open by Andreas Seppi, the four-time winner Down Under seemed to be on the cusp of a career meltdown. Questions were quickly asked of his ability as he floundered and failed to entertain.

Since then, he's answered any lingering doubts resoundingly.

Blasting past Mikhail Youzhny and Fernando Verdasco in the opening rounds, Federer's tennis was fluid and spectacular.ย It was vintage stuff from the 17-time Grand Slam winner.

Indeed, a recap of his highlights against Youzhny shows a player eager to prove himself once again.

Dictating the tempo of the rallies and looking motivated to wrap the tie up, there was little in the way of error as he served with purpose and played some superb winners with that magic forehand of his.

Giving his opponents little opportunity to relax and fight back, Federer was relentless in the way he imposed himself with some fine net play, in particular. And fans were witness to a return of his killer instinct on the big stage, too.

Looking back at the way the balance of power was subverted against Seppi in Australia tells all.

In just a few short weeks, he's overcome his lack of control and is dominating matches.

Even comparing the difference in match duration says a lot, as he was drawn into a draining three-hour slog against Seppi.ย The longest any of his matches in Dubai lasted, as compiled by theย official ATP website, was just 84 minutes, and that was against Novak Djokovic, the world No. 1.

Young Guns No Match for Him

The youngest player Federer faced in Dubai was 18-year-old Borna Coric, who also had a forgettable time at Melbourne Park and was eager to spring back into action with a run to the final.

The Swiss No. 1 had other ideas.

In his fiercest match of the competition, the affectionately nicknamed "Federer Express" was once more on top, but there was an extra level of intrigue to his performance, as he was playing some dazzling tennis against one of the world's rising young stars.

Reflecting on the highlights reel reveals some clever play that appeared yet more evolved than his tactics in the opening rounds.

Continuing to produce some great play at the net, this time he didn't just wait for short balls to come from Coric to take advantage. Instead, he produced some fine charges of his own accord, often following a powerful wide serve.

And Tennis Magazine's Steve Tignor hit the nail on the head when he described the gulf in class that still remains between new and old wave:

There was nothing wrong with Federer when he took on Coric for the first time. Federer played farther up in the court and attacked more than [Andy] Murray had, and he had success slicing the ball to Coric's forehand. With his extreme grip on that side, getting under a skidding shot will never be easy for Coric.

Showing the initiative once again, one of the sport's biggest names was proving his worth all over again with a master class in how to expose weaknesses.

And it was a joy to watch.

Win over Djokovic Re-Affirms Faith

Having confirmed his ability to attack was still very much intact in the first four matches, the final was Federer's chance to prove he could defend as well.

And if you can combat this well against Djokovic, the likelihood is that you can do it against anyoneโ€”his resurgence was complete, in effect, as seen in the video below.

Going blow for blow against Djoker with some fine defence from the baseline, the right-handed player succinctly undermined the world No. 1's biggest strength to dominate the rallies, which allowed him the chance to both defend and attack with tremendous efficiency.

True, this match won't hold the same prestige as a Slam title, but for Federer right now, this victory will not only give him the confidence to know he can still beat the best, but it will send out a signal to the rest of the field heading into the busy clay-court season.

And, as pointed out by Sports Illustrated's Courtney Nguyen, his hectic upcoming schedule could act as the springboard for big success on clay in the coming weeks.

Last year he made the Monte Carlo final before withdrawing from the Madrid Open to be there for the birth of his second set of twins. He returned a week later at the Italian Open, where he lost in his opening match to Jeremy Chardy. As a result, the clay offers a big opportunity for Federer to gain points this year.

In short, the king is not dead.

There were times when the Serbian tried his best to bring his own sharp play to the fore from the back of the court.

Rebuked in his efforts to do so by Federer, he ensured he stayed ahead in their head-to-head record. As reported by the BBC, he holds a 20-17 lead.

Conclusion

April and May sees the clay-court season properly swing into action with the Monte Carlo Masters, the Italian Open and the Madrid Open both acting as the big precursors for the second Masters of the year, the French Open.

Although clay has never been the ideal surface for one of the world's best players, he's unlikely to let that stop him from persevering.

Setting his sights on more wins and pushing himself even further ought to be his main priority as he builds up a head of steam, and he could enjoy an extended purple patch as he looks to capitalise on form.

And with Federer on top of his game, he'll be expected to cause a stir with some great tennis.

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