On this day: Roger Federer regains Dubai crown lost to Rafael Nadal


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On this day: Roger Federer regains Dubai crown lost to Rafael Nadal

Following a fantastic season that saw him winning 92 out of 97 matches and the personal best 12 ATP titles in 2006, Roger Federer was hungry for more at the beginning of the next year, proving that on the court emphatically!

Undefeated since the last summer and Cincinnati, Roger dominated a previous couple of months with five back-to-back titles to wrap up 2006 and open the following season with a triumph at the Australian Open without losing a set.

After a well-deserved rest, the Swiss was back in Dubai where he lost the title 12 months ago to Rafael Nadal, standing as the clear favorite and winning the fourth crown in the desert in the last five years after a 6-4, 6-3 triumph over Mikhail Youzhny on March 3.

Carried by that outstanding Australian Open campaign, Roger kicked off Dubai action with a 7-6, 3-6, 6-3 win over Kristian Pless, struggling a little bit in the first and second sets but keeping things under control in the decider to enter the second round where he took down Daniele Bracciali 7-5, 6-3 with a single break in each set.

Two players from outside the top-80 were behind Federer, although he certainly had to dig deep against the next rival, ousting the young Serb Novak Djokovic 6-3, 6-7, 6-3 in more than two hours. A teenager broke Roger's serve twice to stay in contention but the Swiss crossed the finish line first with four breaks, finding himself in the semi-final where Tommy Haas fell 6-4, 7-5 after Federer broke him twice.

World no. 18 Mikhail Youzhny stood between Roger Federer and the fourth Dubai title, with the Swiss clinching a 6-4, 6-3 victory in an hour and 25 minutes for his 47th title and the 41st win in a row! Roger and Mikhail met for the ninth time and world no.

1 grabbed the ninth win, suffering two breaks but keeping things under control with a rock-solid display on the return, creating no less than 18 break chances and converting four to emerge at the top. It wasn't the best possible start for Federer who got broken in the very first game after a return winner from Youzhny who painted a backhand down the line winner in game two to cement the break and settle into a great rhythm.

Federer got his name on the scoreboard in the third game with back-to-back aces and was back on the positive side of the clock when Youzhny hit a double fault in the game that followed. The Russian had to dig deep in game eight to stay in touch, dispatching two break points before Federer seized the third to move 5-3 up and serve for the opener.

Out of sudden, Mikhail found the zone again, blasting a backhand down the line winner to pull the break back and extend the set, only to lose serve again in game ten and hand the opener to the Swiss. As was expected, Roger had the drive now, earning a break in the second game of the second set and having five match points up for grabs at on the return at 5-2.

Youzhny found the way to dismiss them all and survive for another game before Federer fired three winners on his own serve to seal the deal and celebrate the fourth Dubai crown in the last five years and unreal 60 wins in the previous 61 encounters since Halle last June!