Wednesday 21 March 2018

Djokovic and Federer relish rivalry as they lock horns in Dubai decider

Roger Federer
Roger Federer

Gerard Hughes

Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer renew their great rivalry when they meet in the final of the Dubai Championships today with both players fighting fit and ready for battle.

A few months ago they were had been supposed to bring the curtain down on the ATP Tour with a blockbuster at London's O2 Arena, only for Federer to withdraw injured.

This time, the world's top-ranked players have arrived in the final in great form for their 37th career meeting.

They have 10 Dubai titles between them and while Federer leads 19-17 in head-to-heads, Djokovic prevailed in the one that really mattered last year to win the Wimbledon title.

"When you play Roger, it's always a great challenge," said Djokovic (27, left) after beating fourth seed Tomas Berdych 6-0 5-7 6-4 in the semi-final.

Father-of-four Federer, who had trounced Croatian teen Borna Coric 6-2 6-1 in the other semi, was full of praise for Djokovic.

"Novak has really dominated again since the end of last year," said the 17-times grand slam champion. He showed up when it mattered the most. That's what you can expect from Novak."

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