by Randy Walker
Roger Federer won his 80th career title – and his sixth career title in Cincinnati – beating David Ferrer 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 Sunday at the Western & Southern Masters in Mason, Ohio.
With the win, Federer has established himself as the unlikely favorite to win the US Open that starts August 25 in New York, based on his title in Cincinnati and his runner-up showing in Toronto the week before, losing to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Federer has reached at least the finals in his last four events – winning the grass-court title in Halle, Germany, reaching the final at Wimbledon and his summer hard court events in Toronto in Cincinnati. He has now won the title in Cincinnati for a sixth time.
“I enjoy playing here,” Federer said to Brad Gilbert on ESPN2 moments after his win. “I played some good tennis here over the years. This tournament has been good for me. I beat three players in the top 10. I played some good tennis so it is very encouraging for me.”
Federer’s two major rivals in New York – world No. 1 Novak Djokovic and world No. 2 Rafael Nadal – have had dormant summers since Wimbledon. Djokovic has won only two of four matches played since he beat Federer in the Wimbledon final and since his post-Wimbledon wedding. Nadal has sat out the entire summer season, attempting to heal an injured right wrist that may prevent him from defending his U.S. Open title.
“I know I didn’t beat Rafa or Novak. I can’t control who I am facing,” Federer said to ESPN2. “Clearly I can’t wait until the US Open.”
Federer’s 80th title is the third most in the history of men’s tennis, trailing only Jimmy Connors with 109 titles and Ivan Lendl with 94 titles.
His win over Ferrer increased his series domination over Ferrer to 16-0 in their careers.
To read of the early life of Federer and his march to his record-breaking 14th major singles title, pick up the book “Roger Federer: Quest for Perfection” by Rene Stauffer, the Swiss journalist who has covered Federer since he was a young boy, at www.RogerFedererBook.com. To read day-by-day anniversary match summaries and anecdotes on Federer, pick up “The Days of Roger Federer” here on Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1937559378/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_PKs8tb11DF8D6