January 8, 2005: Roger Federer conquers first Doha title in dominant style


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January 8, 2005: Roger Federer conquers first Doha title in dominant style

Roger Federer had accomplished his first dominant season on the Tour in 2004, becoming the world no. 1 after winning the Australian Open and becoming the first player since Mats Wilander in 1988 with three Major titles in his hands and 11 ATP titles overall.

Bothered with injury, Roger played only two tournaments after the US Open but he won them both to finish the year with 16 straight wins and prepare himself for an even better 2005 when he won 81 out of 85 matches and 11 crowns to extend his dominance over the rest of the field.

Federer kicked off the season in Doha and he 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, winning 21 matches in a row 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 dominant performance on both serve and return that left his opponents powerless on the other side of the court.

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 points 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 just 51 minutes after a brilliant performance on both serve and return to reach the last four where he overpowered Nikolay Davydenko 6-3, 6-4 with a single break in each set.

Davydenko served at 85% but that wasn't enough for a more positive result, creating just one break point and not being able to match Roger's performance. In the title match, Roger thumps 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 crown.

The Croat created three break points, more than any other player that week against Federer, but he stayed empty-handed after wasting them all. On the other hand, 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 his opponent and taming his groundstrokes perfectly to forge his triumph and open the season in the strongest possible way.

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

Roger stayed calm, erasing them all and closing the set with service winners at 5-3. Ivan suffered a break at the start of the second set after a double fault and that sealed his fate in this match, getting broken again in game five when Federer placed a forehand winner that pushed him 4-1 up.

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