Federer heads to New York in ominous form

Federer heads to New York in ominous form

MASON, Ohio - Reuters / The Associated Press
Federer heads to New York in ominous form World number one Roger Federer heads to the U.S. Open with a sixth tournament win of the year, no evident fitness problems and little sign that his Olympic defeat by Andy Murray has had any adverse effect on his confidence.

The Wimbledon champion came to Cincinnati aiming to fine-tuning his game ahead of Flushing Meadows and showed with his classy performances that there is not much to adjust as he looks for a record-extending 18th Grand Slam.

The Swiss did not concede a break of serve in winning the tournament and securing his record fifth title at Cincinnati against the world number two Novak Djokovic 6-0 7-6 on Aug. 19.

“There is no doubt about it beating Novak in a final makes it extra special but then also (it was about) the reaction after losing in the Wimbledon (Olympic) final - to play a great finals after playing a not very good one at the Olympics where I went on to lose nine games in a row,” he said.

“I came here and never dropped my serve. That’s the kind of reaction I want to see from myself. I didn’t have a letdown.”

Among his rivals world number three Rafa Nadal misses the U.S. Open due to a persistent knee injury and Murray pulled out of last week’s Toronto Masters event with his own knee problem and then was knocked out in the third round in Cincinnati.

Djokovic won in Toronto and reached his second final in a fortnight but his 6-0 hammering in the first set in the Cincinnati final will have left something of a scar.

Federer looks in perfect condition.

“Even though I reached almost all goals already this year by securing a medal (at the Olympics), winning Wimbledon, and getting back to world number one, it’s important for me to push forward and give myself the best possible preparation for New York,” Federer added. “Then if I can win tournaments, that’s even better.

“Same for Novak, I don’t think. We both didn’t expect to play so well right after the Olympics, even though we are world one and two. I thought it was a great effort by him and also for me. Obviously, this is a fantastic week.”

Impressive form

Half of Federer’s six titles this year have come in the Masters 1000 series with triumphs at Indian Wells and Madrid before Cincinnati. Federer’s record in terms of match wins this year is also impressive - 56 victories and just seven defeats.

It was the seventh time that Federer and Djokovic played for a tournament title. They split the previous six, with Federer winning the only Grand Slam championship match among them - the U.S. Open in 2007.

In the latest final, Federer broke Djokovic’s serve to start the match. Then, helped by two more double-faults, he broke him again to go up 3-0. Djokovic went to his chair at the break but Federer went back on court and served back-to-back aces. It was domination all around - Djokovic had 10 unforced errors in the opening set, the same number of points he won. The Serb had four double-faults, each one
setting up a break point or ending a game.

Djokovic showed more energy in the second set but never put much pressure on Federer. After a forehand sailed way long, Djokovic raised his arms, reared back and screamed. Now fully engaged in the match, he took the second set to a tiebreaker.