By Benjamin Snyder
World No. 1 Roger Federer won a record fifth Western & Southern Open title, taking out the World No. 2 Novak Djokovic 6-0, 7-6(7) in a historic match that featured the first time the top-ranked men’s players faced off in the final at Cincinnati.
Previously, the Swiss tied the record for four titles alongside George Lott, Bobby Riggs and Mats Wilander. Today, he became the first winner over 30 since Andre Agassi claimed the Rookwood Cup in 2004 at age 34.
Over the match, Federer struck eight aces to Djokovic’s two, while losing no break points in a tournament in which he did not lose a game on serve this year. Additionally, against Djokovic in the championship match, he faced zero break points.
After the match, Federer said, "Feels great. I'm obviously very happy." He contined, "Plus this was probably the best week ever here in Cincinnati for me never dropping my serve and all that stuff and beating Novak in the final.This was very sweet.
No doubt about it."
Djokovic, meanwhile, has lost in the finals four times now and sees his nine-match winning streak, including the Toronto title last week, snapped with the loss.
Federer came out firing with his forehand against the five-time major titlist and recent winner in Toronto, blanking the Serb 6-0 in the first set. Needing just 20 minutes, the bagel was the first recorded in a Western & Southern Open final since 1993 when Michael Chang took out Stefan Edberg in a 7-6, 0-6, 6-4 win.
Said Djokovic about his play in the first six games, "Yeah, terrible set. You know, he started very solid from serve. I mean, he was using it very efficiently and putting a lot pressure on my serve. Made a lot of double faults and didn't find my rhythm."
In the second, however, Djokovic’s form improved as he challenged Federer to get to a tiebreak. But the Swiss proved too strong, striking a forehand crosscourt winner on match point to take the championship in just under 90 minutes in front of a packed Center Court.
"I played better in the second. I thought it was very even, and then when I had the chances I didn't use them," said Djokovic. "I didn't step into the court, and he deserved to win."
Federer’s victory on Sunday is the 16th consecutive ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament won by the "Big Four," including Federer, Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray.
Federer is now bidding to win his 18th major title at this year’s US Open. He has already taken six titles this year, including Wimbledon earlier this season.