DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Top-ranked Roger Federer won
his third straight Dubai Open on Sunday, defeating Ivan Ljubicic
6-1, 6-7 (6), 6-3. It was the third time this year Federer has
beaten the Croat in a title match.
Federer extended his ATP record streak of finals wins to 16,
including three this year. The Swiss star won last month in Doha,
Qatar, and last weekend in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
"I hope we can keep this rivalry going," said Federer. "It is
good for Ivan, good to see a different face on the other side of
The final was Ljubicic's fourth this year and third in three
"I am getting really sick of this guy," Ljubicic joked. "But
I guess he likes the same tournament as me, so I will have to keep
seeing him. It is the first time I have done something like this.
It seems I have to be careful choosing my tournaments in the
Federer improved his record to 20-1 this year. He's won 36 of
his last 37 matches.
In the tiebreaker, Federer had a match point at 6-5 but netted a
forehand, and Ljubicic won 8-6 with a deep return that Federer hit
into the net.
Federer came back forcefully in the third set, breaking Ljubicic
in the second game after Ljubicic was up 40-0. But Federer
double-faulted on break point in the next game to leave the match
Just when it seemed headed for another tiebreaker, Federer broke
Ljubicic with a backhand winner after a long rally to go up 5-3,
and served out the 2-hour, 16-minute match for his 25th career
"For me it is really positive to actually twice in two weeks
have a chance to beat Roger," Ljubicic said. "It gives a big
boost to my confidence and makes me believe that I belong up there
with the best.
"If I play a final every week, I am going to be absolutely
happy. It's not like if you lose four finals you get depressed,
especially if you lose against Roger. To take Roger to three sets
twice is a great achievement. But I am looking forward to beating
him in the near future because I think it is not far away."
In the doubles final, Czechs Martin Damm and Stepanek Radek
defeated the fourth-seeded pair of Sweden's Jonas Bjorkman and
France's Fabrice Santoro 6-2, 6-4.