Roger Federer won his seventh Cincinnati Masters title yesterday, dominating Novak Djokovic 7-6 (7/1), 6-3 in a performance which sets him up nicely for the US Open. Whether it will be enough against an in-form and fresh Roger Federer is another challenge altogether though, and he’ll really have to dig deep if he is to be in with a chance of denying the Swiss of his title defense.
The tone for Federer’s domination was set in the opening set, as he immediately made Djokovic uncomfortable on serve with aggressive returns and tremendous racquet head speed on both his forehand and backhand.
Djokovic managed to come out on top at the All England Club and the world number one will be hoping for a similar result in Cincinnati. I don’t think I played too good.
Although Federer said after his victory that he did not attach any great significance to the change in the world rankings, he is clearly in a confident mood going into the year’s final Grand Slam tournament. “I was trying to do that again today, but I was happy I took care of my serve throughout the match”.
He might be the logical favourite to win the US Open but there will be a leakage of smart money elsewhere after a faltering three-set win over Alexandr Dolgopolov exposed at least minor concerns about his fitness and form nine days before the action starts at Flushing Meadows. It was interesting to see Djokovic try and drill Federer on one of his second-serve approaches, though the ball found the net. Federer followed with a beautifully-timed rushing return struck near mid-court. He spent 39 consecutive weeks at World No. 2 since October 2014 before dropping one notch down last week when Andy Murray won his third Rogers Cup title in Montreal.
But the difference in how they won their tournaments spoke volumes about the nature of another occasion – Williams’ historic pending quest to complete a Grand Slam at the upcoming US Open. “You know, those few points decided everything”.
“Obviously it’s a great incentive and inspired me to come back and play my best tennis“.
Serena Williams also reached the finals of a tournament she won for the first time previous year, beating 14th-seeded Elina Svitolina in straight sets. The world No. 1 did not earn a single break point chance against Federer, who finished his five-match week in Mason, Ohio, without being broken once in 49 service games. That shot helped him hold for 5-4.
Federer almost broke open the set when he had break points to go up 4-1, but Djokovic held strong, not wanting to get blown out.