In 1999, the 17-year-old Roger Federer played in Rotterdam for the first time and had a great run, reaching the quarter-final before losing to world no. 2 Yevgeny Kafelnikov in three tight sets. Nineteen years later, the 36-year-old Roger left Rotterdam with his third title (2005 and 2012) and world no.
1 ranking by his name after a commanding 6-2, 6-2 triumph over Grigor Dimitrov in swift 55 minutes on February 18, 2018. It was Roger's 97th ATP crown 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 challenged Roger in the first four games before Federer raced through the rest of the clash, never facing a break point and stealing Dimitrov's serve four times from eight opportunities.
The tournament director Richard Krajicek later revealed that Dimitrov got sick on Saturday night and could not 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 after leaving Nadal on 19.
More importantly, the Swiss became the oldest world no. 1 at 36 and reached the 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.
Roger Federer won the Rotterdam title on February 18, 2018.
On the other hand, Dimitrov could not do much with his initial shot, hitting only one ace and losing 45% of the points to find himself in trouble in almost every service game after those initial two.
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. Suddenly, Grigor faded from the court and never regained composure after netting a backhand that cost him a break at 2-2.
Roger took complete control and broke again in game seven after Grigor's another groundstroke error. A service winner at 5-2 gave Federer the opening set, taking 20 of the last 26 points to bring the set home in 25 minutes.
Grigor struggled again in set number two, spraying a backhand wide to drop serve in the first game and drifting further away from the title. In game three, the Bulgarian saved a break chance to end his drought before Roger delivered another break following the rival's double fault at 3-1.
A volley winner provided the title for Federer in the eighth game, completing one of his fastest triumphs in the ATP finals and celebrating a historic week that transmitted him to the ATP throne for the first time since 2012!