Roger Federer has just turned 34 but proved he is playing as well as ever by beating Novak Djokovic 7-6, 6-3 with a stunning display in the final of the Cincinnati Masters on Sunday. Federer won the title for the seventh time and will go into the US Open, which starts next Monday, as one of the favourites once again.
The 87th title of his career ensured that Federer would return to No 2 in the updated world rankings list. He had ceded that position last week to Andy Murray, who lost to the Swiss in Saturday’s semi-finals. It will mean that Federer and Djokovic, the world No 1, cannot meet until the final at Flushing Meadows, whereas Murray might have to beat both men if he is to win the title.
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. “Whether I won here or not I always felt well prepared for the US Open,” the Swiss said. “I’ve played well all season long.”
Federer, who chose to miss the previous week’s Montreal Masters and was playing his first tournament since Wimbledon, did not drop his serve all week. He served superbly again and did not have to defend a single break point, despite facing the player recognised as the greatest returner in the modern game. Aggressive throughout and regularly attacking the net, Federer kept Djokovic on the back foot with some stunning play.
The Serbian hung on to his serve in the first set but was overwhelmed in the tie-break, which Federer won 7-1. The Swiss raced into a 3-0 lead in the second set and served out for victory after just 90 minutes.
Federer had lost his previous three matches against Djokovic, most recently in the Wimbledon final, and this win put him 21-20 ahead in their head-to-head record. For Djokovic, it was a second successive defeat in a Masters Series final following Murray’s victory in Montreal.
Djokovic needed to win in Cincinnati to become the first man ever to win all nine Masters Series titles. Reflecting at the presentation ceremony on his fifth defeat in the final at the tournament, the world No 1 said: “I guess I’ll have to wait for Roger to retire and then do something.”
Serena Williams won the women’s title, beating Simona Halep 6-3, 7-6 in the final.Reuse content