MASON – World No. 1 Roger Federer
became just the fourth player in the Open Era history of the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters to win the title three times when he defeated No. 4 Novak Djokovic
Federer, the winner here in 2005 and 2007, joins four-time winner Mats Wilander
and three-time champions Andre Agassi
and Pete Sampras
as the only players with at least three Open Era titles in Cincinnati.
The win is the 61st of Federer’s career, and his 16th at an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament, which is one shy of the record held by Agassi.
After a fairly easy hold for Federer to open the match, Djokovic fended off six break points before finally being broken in a 13-minute game.
"It's very important to have a good start in the match," said Djokovic. "That second game helped him to get into the rhythm, and he gained more confidence, played more relaxed from that point on."
Federer broke the Serb again in his next service game to take a 4-0 lead just 23 minutes into the match.
"He was just too good in the first set," conceded Djokovic.
Djokovic was finally able to hold, but Federer closed out the set 6-1 in just 32 minutes while surrendering just three points on his serve.
Federer faced three break points in his first service game of the second set, and Djokovic converted on the last of those to go up 2-0
Those break points were the first Federer had faced since the third set of Thursday’s Round of 16 match against David Ferrer
"It's just good to know that when I need a good serve I can hit it, you know, whereas maybe last week I still had some muscle pain just from coming back on tour," Federer said. "Pounding the big serves your arm gets heavy and stuff."
Both players faced break chances in the next few games, but it was Federer who took first advantage, breaking Djokovic in the 11th game to go up 6-5.
It was also the advantage Federer would need as he quickly closed out the match.
"In all the years I've come here I've always sort of struggled early on but then got on a roll, and it was the same again this year," Federer said. "I mean, like I said, this is a special year for me to win the first title as a dad. But it's also my first Masters Series win again on hardcourts since a long time.
"I'm happy I was able to win here in Cincinnati, my first Masters 1000 on hardcourt again."
The marks the eighth time in tournament history that the No. 1 player in the world has won the title. Sunday’s final was also the ninth to feature two Top 5 opponents.