Roger Federer is no young man anymore. That isn't news to anyone. He's 32, ancient in most tennis circles, and hasn't made a Grand Slam final since his win at Wimbledon in 2012.
Anytime Federer goes up against these great players it seems that his ability to push people around with his groundstrokes is lost, and eventually the younger names can take care of Federer the longer they hang around.
It seemed like Federer needed a new plan heading into 2014 if he really wanted another chance at not only an 18th Grand Slam, but just a solid year that wouldn't push him closer and closer to retirement.
On Friday in Dubai, Federer got just that, and it wasn't just because his opponent was struggling with his game. Federer took down Novak Djokovic 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, his first ever win against Djokovic after dropping the first set and first win against him since the 2012 World Masters in Cincinnati.
The reason was simple; Federer decided to change up his strategy against the No. 2 player in the world, charging to the net whenever he could in the final set to not only break Djokovic early, but break him often.
It was the type of performance that you see from legends that gives them a boost, and it was the type of play by Federer on Friday that reminds us that while it might be unlikely he can run through two weeks of a Grand Slam unscathed at this point in his career, it isn't impossible.
It was also the type of play that was needed by Federer. We've seen a lot of settling from Federer over the last year, including that semifinal loss to Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open that made Federer look lost and a step slow in Melbourne.
This decision to change up his play and force Djokovic to hit passing shots when his game wasn't as sharp as normal was a smart move by Roger and something fans would like to see more of in the coming months.
Federer will now face Tomas Berdych, a man who beat him at this event a year ago in the semifinals, on Sunday with the championship on the line.