Federer wins third straight Dubai Open

Associated Press

Dubai, February 28:

Top-ranked Roger Federer defeated Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia 6-1, 6-7, 6-3 and won a third straight Dubai Open on Sunday. Federer extended his record streak of final wins to 16. The final was Ljubicic’s fourth this year, and third in three weeks. Federer improved his record to 20-1 this year. He’s won 36 of his last 37 matches. He fended off three break points in the third game, then broke Ljubicic in the fourth and sixth games for the first set. The Swiss made another great start to the second set, breaking an erratic Ljubicic in the opening game and racing to 3-1. But the Croat hit a brilliant backhand winner past a charging Federer, and broke to level at 4-4.

In the tiebreak, Federer had a match point at 6-5 but netted a forehand, and Ljubicic won it 8-6 with a deep return that Federer also netted. Federer came back forcefully in the third set, breaking Ljubicic in the second game after the Croat was 40-0. But the Swiss double-faulted on break point in the next game to leave the match level. Just when it seemed headed for another tiebreaker, Federer broke Ljubicic with a backhand winner after a long rally for 5-3, and served out the 2-hour, 16-minute match for his 25th career title.

Mexican Open

ACAPULCO: Top-seeded Flavia Pennetta of Italy outlasted Ludmila Cervanova of Slovakia 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 in the Mexican Open final for her second WTA Tour title in two weeks. Pennetta has won 15 successive matches on clay, including her title run in Bogota last week. She needed treatment for a leg complaint at 3-2, after which the Italian lost four straight games to lose the first set. But she started out 2-0 in the second set, and broke Cervanova again in the 12th game to level the sets. Pennetta made the decisive break in the sixth game of the final set, and held on to win the final she lost a year ago.

Tennis Channel Open

SCOTTSDALE: Unseeded Australian Wayne Arthurs became the oldest first-time winner since the ATP Tour was formed in 1990, beating third-seeded Mario Ancic of Croatia 7-5, 6-3 in the Tennis Channel Open final. The 33-year-old, in his 128th ATP Tour-level tournament, dominated his opponent. Arthurs, who turns 34 on March 17, is the second-oldest player on the ATP Tour behind 34-year-old Andre Agassi. The Australian is the first 33-year-old to win an ATP-level event since Tom Gullikson at Newport, Rhode Island in 1985.