After a successful 2012 season that saw him winning Wimbledon and three Masters 1000 titles, Roger Federer started to lose the pace with the main rivals at the most prestigious events, having to wait for two years before picking up the next big title in Cincinnati 2014.
In the previous weeks, Roger lost the Wimbledon final to Novak Djokovic and another one in Toronto against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga where he wasted a considerable lead, not having too much time to think about that defeat and switching focus on Cincinnati, one of his favorite tournaments in the calendar.
It was a rather slow start for the Swiss against Vasek Pospisil and Gael Monfils before raising the level against the top-10 opponents Andy Murray and Milos Raonic, gathering the momentum and setting up the final meeting with David Ferrer who stood between Roger and the sixth Cincinnati crown on August 17.
It was their 16th clash on the Tour (they would only play once more after that) and Federer delivered the 16th win, beating the Spaniard 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 in an hour and 42 minutes to lift the 80th ATP title, becoming only the third player to achieve that in the Open era after Jimmy Connors and Ivan Lendl!
The Swiss won eight points more than the Spaniard and played better on both the first and second serve, with both players hitting more winners than unforced errors and earning no less than 25 break chances overall to keep the crowd entertained.
Roger saving nine out of 11 and scored three from 14 chances, dominating in sets he won to lift the sixth trophy in Ohio. David had the advantage in the more extended exchanges with five strokes or more but couldn’t keep the pace with Federer in the shortest area up to four shots, with Roger forging a 54-38 advantage that gave him the triumph.
Federer fired up his engines right from the opening point, holding in the first game with an ace and moving 2-1 in front with another comfortable hold. David was there to fight, bringing the sixth game home with a service winner to level the score at 3-3 after just 17 minutes, looking determined to give Roger run for his money in the seventh Masters 1000 final.
On the other hand, everything worked like a charm in Roger’s game, taking the seventh game with three winners and moving 5-3 up after a costly double fault from Ferrer in the next game. Out of sudden, David created three break chances a few minutes later but it wasn’t to be for him, denied by two volley winners from Federer who had to save another break point when his forehand landed long.
The Swiss did that with a service winner and wrapped up the opener in 30 minutes when David’s backhand finished outside the court. The Spaniard saved no less than four break chances in the opening game of the second set and earned three opportunities on Roger’s serve, hoping to build up the lead for the first time in the match.
Federer fended them off with three winners before Ferrer managed to convert the fourth after forcing an error from Roger’s backhand to move 2-0 in front and receive a massive boost. A powerful hold at 15 propelled David 3-0 in front and was the dominant figure on the court now, seizing another break in game four when Federer’s drop shot failed to pass the net.
Ferrer dominated from the baseline line and held at love to sprint into a 5-0 advantage, claiming 15 of the last 17 points to leave Roger far behind! Things went from bad to worse for the Swiss who had to save a set point in game six in order to avoid a bagel, doing that with a volley winner at the net and repelling another one with a good serve, clinching that game to attain at least some momentum before the decider.
David saved a break point in game seven and the set was in his hands after a backhand down the line winner, matching Roger’s numbers in the quickest exchanges and creating a lead in those extended once that brought him the set in dominant style.
It was important for Federer to leave this part of the match behind and make a strong start in the deciding set, firing a service winner to take the opening game and adding four more direct points in game three for a 2-1 lead.
His forehand was back and that was a game-changer, breaking Ferrer in game four to open up the advantage and wrapping up the fifth game with four winners for a 4-1. David saved numerous break points to reduce the deficit in game six but that was all we saw from him, as Federer held quickly after that with four winners, forcing his rival to serve for staying in the match.
David suffered another break in game eight when his backhand missed the baseline and Roger could have started a celebration of the biggest title in two years that gave him more boost (he was already in the final of Wimbledon and Toronto) before the finish of the season where he played on a very high level once again to close it as world no. 2