By Dave Gertler
(August 17, 2014) MASON, OHIO – After making the final of four Masters 1000 events this year, Roger Federer has finally broken through to win his first title at that level since 2012. After beating fellow top 10 players Andy Murray and Milos Raonic to reach the final, Federer’s opponent at the Western & Southern Open in Mason, Ohio, was world No. 6 Spaniard David Ferrer, who has troubled the world No .3 lately, but had not beaten Federer in their 15 career matches.
Like their quarterfinal played out in Toronto last week, their meeting at the Lindner Family Tennis Center today also went three sets, with 33-year-old Federer giving away the middle set to his 32-year-old opponent.
With Federer serving first, both players held easily until Ferrer – serving at 3-4 – double faulted twice to hand Federer the break. Although Federer consolidated for 6-3, it was not before he went down 0-40 and proceeded to save four break points, perhaps a sign of what was coming in the following set.
“Let’s not talk about the second set,” Federer joked after the match, perhaps offering some insight into the kind of mentality that brought his title count to 80 today. “I can dwell on it for like 30 minutes if you want and then the press conference is over and we talked about the second set rather than the good stuff.”
The second set saw Ferrer tighten up his return game, find his rhythm and apply pressure on Federer’s serve, breaking the Swiss twice for a 6-1 second set. However, said Federer, “I did get some momentum back I think at the end of the second set, even though I did end up losing it 6‑1. I really thought I was feeling better again towards the end of the second set, like he felt better at the end of the first.”
Federer, who has reached 8 finals in 2014, compared to a total of 3 in 2013, led with his serve in the third set, when he served 4 of his 6 aces in the match. “The third set he serve unbelievable,” said Ferrer, who was unable to make his opponent save any break points in the final set, while Federer broke him twice for a final score of 6-3, 1-6, 6-2. Federer remains unbeaten in Cincinnati finals, and holds a record 6 titles there.
“We’ve never played each other in slams,” said Federer when asked about his one-sided rivalry against Ferrer, “So from that standpoint, like I mentioned the other day, head‑to‑heads don’t mean everything.”
Having played ten matches in 13 days, Federer said that on Monday, he considered not playing the Western & Southern Open, in order to conserve energy for next week’s US Open. “I could have just not played here,” said Federer, “And gone into the Open feeling good about my chances, now I feel even better, you know. On the flip coin, what was the other plan? Practice? Take a few days off? But then I have to grind out in the practice. I still believe matches are the best practice right now.”
For Federer it was his 80th career singles title.
Earlier, Serena Williams beat Ana Ivanovic 6-4, 6-1 to claim her first Cincinnati title, while Bob and Mike Bryan ended Vasek Pospisil and Jack Sock’s 14-match winning streak when they beat them in the doubles final 6-3, 6-2 for their fifth title in Cincinnati. Americans were also winners in the women’s doubles, where Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears played Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic, who retired injured from the match trailing 1-6, 0-2.
The Western & Southern Open also set new attendance records, drawing 191, 752 fans over 16 sessions to the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio.
Dave Gertler is a tennis journalist, player and musician based in Sydney who was covering the Western & Southern Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his personal Twitter @davegertler, read his blog, and listen to his podcast, Tennis Days