Roger Federer claimed his second Masters event of the year and sixteenth overall by defeating Novak Djokovic 6-1, 7-5 in the finals of the Western and Southern Financial Group Masters in Cincinnati.
In the first set, Djokovic came out very flat and got into trouble early on his first service game. After surviving eight deuces, Djokovic couldn’t figure out a way to win the ad game and ended up losing his serve.
Despite only serving 47% first serves in the first set, Federer played within himself while Djokovic was forced well beyond the baseline during play. Djokovic hit too many lazy errors, especially on the backhand and the set went by quickly.
In the second set, Djokovic changed from a red shirt to a white shirt and it seemed to lift his game. At 0-1, Djokovic was able to get a break point after he guessed right on a Fed smash and hit a forehand pass. Federer saved that breaker but then on the next deuce, Djokovic ended a long rally by coming to net and hitting a stab volley forcing Federer to hit long. Djokovic got the break when Federer hit another forehand long.
Despite going down 0-3, Federer lifted his game and was able to break back when Djokovic hit a lazy backhand long. Djokovic was successful coming to net during the match, but overall he was not aggressive enough to really press Federer at key points.
On serve at 4-5, Federer got himself into trouble on his service and faced a set point against. But Federer served an ace next point and eventually evened things at 5-5. Djokovic continued his sloppy play, including an ill-time drop shot that led to him losing serve at 5-6. Federer comfortably served out the match and the win.
Federer looked very assured all week and he clearly is now the favorite again for the U.S. Open. Djokovic did have a good tournament, beating Nadal in the semis, and should be a darkhorse contender.
Next week is the Pilot Pen event in New Haven while the U.S. Open draw will be held on Thursday. Check for more U.S. Open preview and analysis tomorrow.