Last year in Doha, Nikolay Davydenko upended Roger Federer in the semifinals of the Qatar Open. Then, the Russian stunned Rafael Nadal in the final to claim the title. This time around, while Nadal fell victim in the semifinals to Davydenko, Federer exacted revenge. The world number two cruised to a 6-3,6-4 victory over the defending champion to pocket his third trophy at this tournament.
Following a prompt hold, Federer provoked four consecutive miscues from Davydenko to break at love. With Federer flubbing an easy backhand to go down 15-30, Davydenko had a chance to get back on serve. However, Federer produced two forehand winners for game point and consolidated for 3-0. Moving forward, Federer coasted on his service game. Serving at 2-5, Davydenko fought off six break points before carrying the game. With Davydenko’s pass sailing long, Federer arrived at set point for the first occasion on his serve and capitalized with a forehand winner.
In his initial two service games of the second set, Davydenko held with ease. Then, serving at 2 all, Federer connected on a backhand crosscourt winner and a sublime forehand volley winner to put the Russian in a love-30 hole. Fortunately, Davydenko encountered his first serve to maintain a 3-2 lead. Still, the Russian’s problem continued to be his inability to dent Federer’s serve. Serving at 4 all, Davydenko made a mistake with his backhand while Federer struck a backhand down the line winner on the next stroke. As Davydenko double faulted, Federer had triple break point. When Davydenko’s forehand traveled long, Federer secured the break and a 5-4 advantage. Quickly with a love game, Federer finished off his adversary and took the championship.
With his 67th title, Federer begins 2011 in splendid form. It appears to be a continuation of Federer’s great play in the latter part of 2010. Federer has now captured four of his ultimate five events. As he turns his eyes towards defending at the Australian Open, Federer could not have asked for a better result.
Nadal also had success this week while battling illness. Nadal and fellow Spaniard Marc Lopez bagged the doubles trophy.