Dubai: Roger Federer showed an enterprising new side to his game as he beat Novak Djokovic for the first time in 18 months and ended the top seed's defence of the Dubai Open title. The record 17-time Grand Slam title winner beat the six-time major champion 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, turning the match around not only with scintillating groundstroke hitting but with some bold approaches to the net.
Djokovic looked the more likely winner when he got within a point of going a break up in the fifth game of the second set, but a couple of minutes later came a short rain delay which halted his momentum. After that Federer's game rose to much higher levels, and his increasing willingness to come forward, which earned him 11 points from 17 net forays, seemed to bear the stamp of his new coach, Stefan Edberg.
"There was a buzz out there tonight, and I was able to enjoy myself with that crowd," five-time Dubai champion Federer said on court.