Cincinnati Flashback: Roger Federer wins milestone title No. 80 to match..

After a successful 2012 season that saw him winning Wimbledon and three Masters 1000 titles, Roger Federer started to lose pace with the main rivals at the most prestigious events. The Swiss had 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 in Toronto against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga after squandering a considerable lead. The Swiss did not have too much time to think about that defeat, switching focus on Cincinnati, one of his favorite tournaments in the calendar. Federer made a relatively slow start against Vasek Pospisil and Gael Monfils before raising his level against the top-10 opponents Andy Murray and Milos Raonic and setting up the final meeting versus David Ferrer on August 17.

It was their 16th clash on the Tour (they would only play once more after that), and Federer delivered the 16th triumph, 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 in the Open era to achieve that 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 competitors hitting more winners than unforced errors, backed by no less than 25 break chances that kept the crowd entertained.

Roger repelled nine out of 11 and grabbed three return games from 14 opportunities, dominating in sets he won to lift the sixth Ohio trophy. Ferrer had the advantage in the more extended exchanges with five strokes or more but could not keep the pace with Federer in the shortest area up to four shots. Roger forged a 54-38 advantage, and that provided the victory for him. 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, though, bringing the sixth game home with a service winner to level the score at 3-3 after just 17 minutes and looking determined to give Roger a run for his money in the seventh Masters 1000 final.

In Cincinnati 2014, Roger Federer won the 80th ATP title at 33.

On the other hand, everything worked like a charm for Roger, taking the seventh game with three winners and moving 5-3 up after Ferrer’s costly double fault. Out of a sudden, David created three break chances a few minutes later, but it was not 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 second set’s opening game, earned three opportunities on Roger’s serve and hoped to forge the first advantage. Federer fended them off with three winners before Ferrer converted the fourth after forcing Roger’s backhand error and moved 2-0 in front. A powerful hold at 15 propelled David 3-0 in front, standing as the dominant figure on the court and seizing another break in game four when Federer’s drop shot failed to pass the net.

Ferrer had the upper hand from the baseline 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 to avoid a bagel. He did that with a volley winner at the net and repelled another with a good serve to clinch the game and grab at least some momentum. 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 ones that delivered the set for him. It was important for Federer to leave this part of the encounter behind and make a strong start in the deciding set, and he fired a service winner to take the opening game and added four more direct points in game three for a 2-1 lead.

His forehand meant business again, and that was a game-changer, as he broke Ferrer in game four to open up the advantage and wrapped up the fifth game with four winners for 4-1. David saved numerous break chances 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. The Spaniard suffered another break in game eight when his backhand missed the baseline, and Roger could start a celebration of the most notable title in two years. This crown gave him more boost (together with those finals of Wimbledon and Toronto) before the season’s finish, and he managed to wrap up the year in the top-2.