On this day: Roger Federer conquers first Doha title in dominant fashion



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On this day: Roger Federer conquers first Doha title in dominant fashion

Roger Federer accomplished his first dominant season on the Tour in 2004, becoming world no. 1 after winning the Australian Open and the first player since Mats Wilander in 1988 with three Major titles. Struggling with injury, Roger played only two tournaments after the US Open but won them both to wrap up the year with 16 straight victories, preparing himself for an even better 2005 when he won 81 out of 85 matches and 11 crowns, extending his dominance over the rest of the field.

Federer kicked off the season in Doha and was right at the top of his game in the very first week of the new year, toppling all five rivals to secure his 23rd ATP title, rattling off 21 consecutive triumphs and 14 straight ATP finals since losing the last one in Gstaad in July 2003!

Competing in Doha for the first time since 2002, Federer stormed over all five rivals, wrapping up the title in just five hours after a powerful performance on both serve and return that left his opponents without any answer.

David Ferrer fell 6-1, 6-1 in the opening round and Roger needed just over an hour to dismiss Greg Rusedski 6-3, 6-4, fending off both break chances and stealing the Briton's serve once in each set to bring the win home in no time at all.

The Swiss continued his strong run against Feliciano Lopez, ousting the Spaniard 6-1, 6-2 in swift 51 minutes after a brilliant performance, reaching the last four where he overpowered Nikolay Davydenko 6-3, 6-4 with a single break in each set.

The Russian served at 85% and that wasn't enough for a more favorable result, creating just one break opportunity and not being able to match Roger's performance. In the title match on January 8, Federer thumped Ivan Ljubicic 6-3, 6-1 in 63 minutes for his first Doha crown, completing a perfect week and heading towards Australia where he was a clear favorite to defend the Australian Open title.

The Croat created three break chances, more than any other player that week against Federer, but stayed empty-handed after wasting them all, unable to defend his serve and remain in contention for a couple of more games.

The Swiss had the upper hand in the return games, stealing half of the points behind Ivan's serve and converting four out of nine break points to stay ahead all the time. Federer was miles in front in the shortest and mid-range rallies, hitting twice as many winners than Ljubicic and taming his groundstrokes perfectly to forge the triumph and open the season in the most reliable possible way, continuing where he left at the end of 2004.

Roger held at love in the opening game and earned two break chances already in game two, squandering both and missing an opportunity for an early lead. The Swiss drew first blood at 3-2 after a backhand error from Ljubicic who had to pull the break back in the very next game, with three break points up for grabs.

Keeping his focus, Federer erased them all and closed the set with service winners at 5-3, hoping for more of the same in set number two. Ivan suffered a break at the beginning of the second set after a double fault and that sealed his fate in this match, getting broken again at 1-3 when Federer placed a forehand winner that pushed him closer to the finish line.

The Swiss won the sixth game with a volley winner and cemented the victory with another break in the game that followed, hammering a forehand winner to cross the finish line and celebrate the title.