Roger Federer reached his 100th ATP title on Saturday by defeating Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4 6-4 in the final of the Dubai Open.
The Swiss, winner of 20 Grand Slam tournaments, thus became the second man in the professional era to reach 100 titles on the circuit after the American Jimmy Connors, who won 109.
Federer also took revenge for his defeat at the hands of Tsitsipas in the fourth round of the Australian Open in January and will rise to number four in the standings on Monday.
“I’m delighted. It’s fantastic to win my eighth title here in Dubai and in combination with my 100th singles title,” Federer said.
The Swiss veteran, who had not been able to beat the 99 titles since winning his home tournament in Basel in October, broke Tsitsipas in the first game of the match and saved two break points with 5-4 to claim the first set in 36 minutes.
Tsitsipas, who will enter the top 10 for the first time, stood firm until 4-4 in the second set before Federer, 37, changed gear to seal the decisive break and close the victory.
“I don’t know if Stefanos was born when I won my first title,” joked Federer after a tribute video that included his first title in Milan in 2001.
“It’s a privilege (to play against potential champions) because I’ll be watching them on television. It was a pleasure playing with Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi. I’m sure Stefanos will have a wonderful career,” Federer added. “Tennis is in good hands, whether I’m there or not.
Tsitsipas also had words of praise for his rival.
“It’s an honor to play with Roger, I’ve idolized him since he was six years old and watched him on television.
Federer has won at least one ATP trophy in almost every season since his first title, losing only in 2016 when he suffered a knee injury.
The Swiss won 24 of his 100 titles in consecutive finals from October 2003 to October 2005.