Federere Claims Seventh Cincinnati Crown
By Amanda Pruitt
With strong serving all week and a new aggressive return strategy, Roger Federer captured his seventh title Sunday at the Western & Southern Open.
For the third time, that final tournament victory came at the expense of Novak Djokovic, current world No. 1. In a rematch of last year’s final, Federer came away the victor 7-6(1), 6-3 on Center Court.
Federer did not drop a service game the entire tournament, a feat he also pulled off in 2012 en route to the title.
On Sunday, the first-set tiebreaker proved to be the different maker between the two.
Djokovic won a long rally to get on the scoreboard at 2-1, but Federer did not lose a point from there. His one-handed backhand on the next point clipped the baseline when Djokovic anticipated it would go out to move ahead 3-1. On the next point, Federer employed his new second-serve return strategy — which he unveiled this week — and charged the net for a half volley on the incoming serve to get his second minibreak.
Federer took the tiebreaker 7-1 and then broke Djokovic’s first service game of the second set and held that lead for the rest of the match. Djokovic elevated his play after that but could not equal the score, generating no break points all match while facing eight on his racquet.
Federer is now 7-0 in career finals in Cincinnati, while Djokovic is 0-5 … Federer’s previous tournament victories: 2014, 2012, 2010, 2009, 2007, 2005 … Cincinnati remains the only Masters 1000 event Djokovic has not won; no player has won ever Masters title at least once … Sunday was the 41st meeting between Federer and Djokovic — Federer now leads 21-20 … Djokovic has not yet won a set in the finals (0-10) … Djokovic has six titles and four finals this year; Federer has five titles and three finals.