Federer wins Qatar Open

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/A/Apfederer.jpg' class='caption'> Roger Federer has won the Qatar Open for the second successive year, beating French teenager Gael Monfils 6-3, 7-6 (5) in the final.

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:39 IST
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Roger Federer has won the Qatar Open for the second successive year, beating French teenager Gael Monfils 6-3, 7-6 (5) in the final. He became the first player since Sweden's Stefan Edberg to win back-to-back titles in Doha. Edberg won the Qatar Open in 1994 and 1995. "It's a beautiful start to the year, winning a tournament without dropping a set. It also shows that the ankle problem I had toward the end of the last season is behind me," Federer said. Crucial mistakes Monfils played with plenty of heart, but his inexperience resulted in several crucial mistakes on big points. He broke Federer in the first game and held his serve to lead 2-0 in the first set. But Federer broke back in the sixth and eighth games to grab the advantage, going ahead 5-3. Federer then held his serve to close out the set. In the second set, the players broke each other and then held serve. Federer led 40-15 in the seventh game but couldn't finish it off as Monfils forced a deuce with some inspired play. Monfils then hit an ace and produced a measured lob that landed just inside the court to win the game and lead 4-3. Big opportunity The players held serve for the next three games. In the 11th, Federer again had a golden chance to go a break up after leading 40-30, but Monfils again blasted an ace to go ahead 6-5. Federer then capitalized on Monfils' errors to win his next service game and force the tiebreaker. The Frenchman's powerful serve forced an error from Federer in the tiebreaker and some more mistakes by the Swiss allowed Monfils to take a 5-3 lead, but the defending champion hit back to level the scores. A smash from near the net sent Federer up 6-5 and the Swiss finished off the match with a blistering forehand. Satisfying performance Monfils was pleased with his showing against the world's top-ranked player. "I am happy with my performance in Doha because playing against someone like Roger Federer is not easy," said Monfils. "I had my chance today, but I guess I made a lot of errors. But I have no complaints". Federer said Monfils had the potential to be one of the world's top players and admitted that he had difficulty judging the Frenchman's service pattern initially. This was Federer's fifth title in the Middle East. He won three straight Dubai Open titles, from 2003 to 2005. Federer took his hardcourt winning streak to 45 matches with Saturday's victory and the Qatar Open was his 43rd career final - of which he has won 34. (AP)

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