DUBAI – Roger Federer has claimed the 100th title of his storied career, reaching that milestone by defeating Greek rising star Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-4 in Saturday’s final of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
The 37-year-old Swiss great joined the ultra-exclusive “Century Club” just over 18 years after winning his first title at the now-defunct Milan Indoor event.
He clinched that maiden crown with a victory in the final over Frenchman Julien Boutter, who retired 14 years ago.
“It’s been a long, wonderful journey. I have loved every minute,” Federer was quoted as saying on the ATP World Tour’s Web site. “It’s been tough but the sacrifice has been very, very worthwhile and we’ll see how much more I’ve got left in the tank. Reaching 100 is an absolute dream come true for me.”
Federer capitalized on the only two break points he created – one in the first game of the match and the other in the ninth game of the second set – to roll to the comfortable victory in just one hour and nine minutes.
He was nearly impeccable on his own service games, including finishing off the match by emphatically holding serve at love.
The key moment of Saturday’s final came in the final game of the first set, when Federer staved off one of the two break points he faced in the match en route to clinching the opener.
The contest was a mostly serve-dominated affair, with the seventh-ranked Federer executing his first-strike tennis to near-perfection and employing the energy-conservation strategy that has allowed him to remain near the top of his sport into his late 30s.
Federer also leaves Dubai with the satisfaction of having solved an opponent who stunned him in four sets in the round of 16 at this year’s Australian Open, the first Grand Slam event of the tennis season.
Tsitsipas, who had not yet turned three when Federer won his first ATP tournament, saved all 12 break points he faced in that contest in Melbourne before eking out a 6-7 (11), 7-6 (3), 7-5, 7-6 (5) victory.
Federer also was unable to break the Greek player in a narrow 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4) loss in early January at the Hopman Cup in Perth, Australia.
Finally breaking through against the 11th-ranked Tsitsipas’ serve was priority No. 1 on Saturday for Federer, and he managed to do that in the opening game.
The Swiss, who has now extended his record haul of Dubai titles to eight, is second all-time in terms of men’s tennis titles in the Open Era (1968 to the present), trailing only retired former American great Jimmy Connors (109).