By Randy Walker
It seems that every time Roger Federer now wins a tournament, he rewrites the record book of tennis.
His victory Sunday at the Western and Southern Financial Masters in Cincinnati is no exception.
Federer’s 6-0, 7-6 (7) win Sunday over world No. 2 Novak Djokovic gave him his record-breaking fifth title in Cincinnati, and a record-tying 21st “Masters 1000” level ATP tournament title, tying Rafael Nadal for the most all time. The win also cemented Federer in the world No. 1 ranking, that will earn him his Open Era record sixth No. 1 seeding at the US Open later this month.
And that’s not it!
The Cincinnati title was also Federer’s 76th career singles title, one shy of John McEnroe’s third-place tally of 77 singles titles. Only Jimmy Connors (109 titles) and Ivan Lendl (94 titles) have won more men’s singles titles than McEnroe and Federer in a career.
Against Djokovic, Federer cruised to the first set in only 20 minutes, breaking Djokovic’s serve three times – the only times the Serbian had his serve broken all week – allowing the 2011 US Open only 10 points.
Both players exchanged holds in the second set, Djokovic holding a set point at 7-6 in the second-set tie-breaker, swatted away with a Federer overhead.
“I started off slow. I didn’t get any rhythm and made a lot of unforced errors and after 20 minutes, the set was over,” said Djokovic to Mary Joe Fernandez on CBS Sports. “In the second set, I had my chances, but I didn’t use them. When he had second serves, I was too passive in the court. I missed my opportunity in the tie break as well.”
Federer won the title without dropping his serve all week, and only faced three break points during the entire tournament. It is the first time, according to Federer, that he won a title without dropping serve since he won in Doha, Qatar in 2005.
“I was able to get off to a great start, even in the second set when I wasn’t serving as well,” said Federer. “Novak never really got comfortable.”
It was the first time in the history of the Cincinnati event that the world No. 1 and No. 2 players have played in the final.
Federer’s appearance in Cincinnati marked his return to tennis since he won the silver medal at the Olympic Games at Wimbledon on August 5 after his final-round loss to Andy Murray. It will serve as his only hard court tournament in preparation for the US Open that begins August 27. Federer returned to the No. 1 world ranking when he won his seventh Wimbledon title on July 8 – his first victory at a major tournament in two-and-a-half years since the 2010 Australian Open.
Djokovic was playing his fourth consecutive Sunday after two Sundays of play at the Olympics, including his loss in the bronze medal match to Juan Martin del Potro on August 5. He won the title at the Canadian Open in Toronto last week – a tournament where Federer withdrew from to rest – before he reached his second-straight hard court tournament final this week in Cincinnati.
To read more about tennis history, including many of the records that Federer is breaking, pick up THE BUD COLLINS HISTORY OF TENNIS here http://www.amazon.com/The-Collins-History-Tennis-Authoritative/dp/0942257707/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1345399400&sr=8-1&keywords=bud+collins+history+of+tennis. To read more about Roger Federer, pick the Rene Stauffer-authored biography of him ROGER FEDERER: QUEST FOR PERFECTION at www.RogerFedererBook.com