Back in 1999, 17-year-old Roger Federer came to Rotterdam for the first time ranked 178th and had a great run, reaching the quarter-final before losing to world no. 2 Yevgeny Kafelnikov in three tight sets. 19 years later, Roger left Rotterdam with his third title (2005 and 2012) and world no.
1 ranking after a commanding 6-2, 6-2 triumph over Grigor Dimitrov in just 55 minutes on February 18, 2018. It was the 97th ATP crown for Roger in his illustrious career and the second of the season after defending his Australian Open title, beating world no.
5 for the seventh time in as many encounters. Grigor was there to fight with Roger in the first four games before Federer raced through the rest of encounter, never facing a break point and stealing Grigor's serve four times from eight opportunities.
The tournament director Richard Krajicek said that Dimitrov got sick on Saturday night and that he couldn't play at his best, which was evident on the court. It was the 20th ATP 500 crown for Roger who became the leader in that category, leaving Nadal on 19, aslo reaching 10000-point mark for the first time since January 2013.
Roger was flawless in his service games, dropping seven points and keeping Grigor away from break chances. On the other hand, Dimitrov couldn't do much with his initial shot, hitting only one ace and losing 45% of the points in his games to find himself in trouble in almost every service game after those two at the beginning of the match.
It was the most desired final once the draw came out and they were off to a great start, with just three points for the returners in the opening four games. Out of sudden, Grigor faded from the court and never regained his composure after netting a backhand that cost him his service game at 2-2.
Roger took full control and broke again in game seven after another groundstroke error from the Bulgarian. A service winner gave Federer the opening set at 5-2, winning 20 out of the last 26 points to bring the set home in some 25 minutes.
Grigor continued to struggle in set number two, spraying a backhand wide to drop serve in the first game and drifting further and further away from the title. He saved a break point in game three to end his drought but Roger pulled another break when Grigor double faulted at 1-3.
A volley winner gave Federer the title in the eighth game, completing one of his fastest triumphs in the ATP finals and celebrating a historic week that brought him so much.