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Federer wins thriller in Rotterdam

Roger Federer won his 15th tournament final in a row Keystone

Roger Federer has bounced back from his semi-final defeat at the Australian Open with a win in the final of the World Indoor Tournament in Rotterdam.

The Swiss world number one reclaimed his aura of invincibility by notching up a 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 victory over his Croatian opponent, Ivan Ljubicic.

Federer pocketed €147,000 (SFr226,000) for his 24th tournament victory.

The Swiss champion faced a torrid time against Ljubicic before adding his name to the billboard of champions that circles the Ahoy arena’s centre court.

The Croatian broke Federer’s serve for the first time in the tournament in the 11th game of the first set. Ljubicic was also able to rely on his weapon of choice – his big serve – to score easy points.

Croatia’s finest was able to fire off 14 aces, as well as 31 winning serves, an unusually high total against Federer.

Although the Swiss claimed the second set, it came down to the wire with a third-set tiebreak.

Second tournament win

Ljubicic was leading in the tiebreak 4-2 on his serve. But Federer kept his focus and won the five points needed to claim victory after two hours and 42 minutes of high-quality action.

The reigning Wimbledon, US Open and Masters Cup champion, Federer returned to the courts this week for the first time since losing to Russia’s Marat Safin in the semi-finals of the Australian Open three weeks ago.

Sunday’s victory in Rotterdam was Federer’s second title of the new season. Last month he defeated Ljubicic in the final of the Doha Open.

Federer, who posted a runner-up finish in Rotterdam in 2001, is the third Swiss to triumph in the Dutch city.

Heinz Günthardt showed the way in 1980, followed nine years later by Jakob Hlasek.

swissinfo with agencies

Federer was born in Basel in August 1981.
He has been ranked world number one since February last year.
He won 11 titles last year, including three grand slams.
In 2004 he won more than SFr7 million in prize money.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR