Roger Federer has once again proven his mastery of the game of tennis, by winning the ATP Master Series 1000 tournament in Cincinnati, Ohio for the sixth time. Federer defeated Spanish world number five champion David Ferrer in the final to cinch his 80th career title (third all-time) and also third of the season. Following a descent in the rankings last year to number seven, Federer’s strong results this season have seen him rise again to World Number Three. With defending champion and World Number Two Rafael Nadal out of the U.S. Open, Federer has moved up as he rises to the number-two seed.
The Swiss right-hander turned 33 years old on Aug.8, and despite talk of his best years being behind him, Federer turned back the clock to remind everyone why they call him The Maestro. En route to the final, Federer dispatched dynamic Frenchman Gael Monfils, British ninth seed Andy Murray and rising Canadian Milos Raonic with the combined loss of just one set. Federer’s victory in Cincinnati raised his ATP Master Series shield haul to 22, second all-time behind Rafael Nadal (27).
At the end of last season, Federer was fighting to qualify for the Barclay’s ATP World Tour Final, which he has won a record six times. His victory in Ohio has booked his place at the elite eight-man field for a record 13th straight year. Last season he was also burdened with back injury issues, which blunted his results, and reduced his title haul to just one in Halle (D. Youzhny 6-7, 6-3, 6-4). Federer had not ended a year with only a single trophy since 2001 when then ranked 27th in the world defeated Julien Boutter 6-4, 6-7, 6-4 to claim his maiden title. The Swiss star has won double-digit titles in 2004-5 (11) and 2006 (12), and has amassed 17 grand slam titles during his career (most all-time) from 25 finals.
Not only has Federer’s world rank been rising this season, but with titles in Dubai (D. Berdych 3-6, 6-4,6-3) and Halle (D. Falla 7-6, 7-6) and final appearances in Brisbane, ATP Master Series 1000 Indian Wells, ATP Master Series 1000 Monte Carlo, Wimbledon and ATP Master Series 1000 Canada, his career prize money has swelled to $84,035,204 (most all-time).
Federer has also spent more time at the number-one ranking (302 weeks) than any player in history, and 237 of those were consecutive (Pete Sampras is number two with 286; 160 consecutive). He has also held the year-end world number-one ranking five times (tied 2nd all-time with Jimmy Connors), with four of them consecutive.
With the U.S. Open coming up in a few weeks, Roger Federer has placed himself back in contention. This season he has defeated Novak Djokovic twice, Andy Murray twice and held off the flurry of up and coming young-guns with the kind of poise and authority he is known for. Despite hitting a rich run of form, Federer will have to contend with opponents who are largely younger, and hungrier at the end of a season filled with grueling matches. With Rafael Nadal out with an injury, and Novak Djokovic in questionable form as of late, number-two seed Roger Federer continues to rise and is looking much more likely to win his sixth U.S. Open.
Commentary by John Benjamin Wilson