Roger Federer made a stirring recovery from a set and a break down to win his sixth Dubai ATP title, overhauling Thomas Berdych on Saturday.
The Czech saved two match points in the penultimate game before Federer closed it out a game later on his third winning chance as the third seed sent a return wide after nearly two hours.
The winner ended with eight aces and four breaks of serve. Berdych finished runner-up a year ago to Novak Djokovic.
Fourth-seeded Federer required a fightback after losing an opening set for the second night in succession – he beat Djokovic the same way on Friday – but prevailed over his Czech opponent, stopping a Berdych winning streak at 11 matches.
Federer added a 78th singles title to his glittering record as he lifted his first trophy in eight months since winning in Halle, Germany.
“It was absolutely special to win here for the sixth time,” said the 32-year-old with a record 17 grand slam titles.
“I’m very happy with my game not only tonight but this week.
“Tomas is a tough opponent and we had a close match. I got a bit lucky at times. I fought well, I could not have been happier with the outcome.”
Federer improved his record against Berdych to 12-6 after the Czech had won their past two encounters, including a Dubai semi-final last year when the Swiss wasted two match points.
Federer will remain eighth in the rankings but takes a growing dose of confidence into the first Masters 1000 of the season which starts late next week at Indian Wells, California.
The Swiss moved into sole third on the all-time title list, pulling away from John McEnroe (77).
He has now won at least one trophy per year for the past 14 seasons.
Berdych came to the Gulf after winning Rotterdam and bidding for back-to-back titles for the first time in his career.