Federer Breaks Masters Final Curse with 80th Title in Cincinnati

Hey folks. He did it! I don’t think I will get far with this post but I will make a follow up post if I don’t. I just basically wanted to make a post and celebrate Roger’s biggest title in two years with you. I got up at 3 am this morning like I said I would but didn’t watch until the end. I started watching at 2-2 in the first set and left the match with Roger leading 4-1 in the third. From the start Roger didn’t have things all his own way. It was only his second day match after his first match and he had much less than 24 hours to recover. Things were pretty close at the start and Roger finally got the break in the eighth game to take a 5-3 lead after Ferrer double faulted on break point. But while serving for the match he went down 0-40 on his serve. Somehow he dug himself out of that hole and won the first set. It was actually quite nervy stuff from the start.

Probably because I felt this was make or break for Roger, and probably he was feeling the same kind of pressure. At the start of the second set Ferrer kept the pressure on and Roger’s level dropped, which resulted in Roger getting broken twice and trailing 0-5. Ferrer was right back in the match and this was a concern. Was Roger gonna let yet another Masters slip through his fingers? I was preparing myself for the worst case scenario. Roger even had to save two set points on his own serve at 0-5 to avoid the bagel. That was a key game right there. Roger didn’t want to get bageled by Ferrer and needed to get on the board before the start of the decider. He needed to change the momentum and achieved that. I was hoping for a straight set win so that I could go to sleep again quickly, knowing that I had to work soon.

But I couldn’t go to sleep at a set all. At the very least I had to watch until Roger got the break in the third and consolidated. Fortunately he did that and I went back to sleep knowing that the result would still be unsure when I wake up, but at least it was better than going to sleep at a set all. That would have been unbearable. Of course when I woke up the first thing I did was check the result. I even had a dream that Roger lost again. But waking up to Roger winning his first big title in two years was the best way to start the day and the week. I was absolutely delighted. It was also a relief given Roger’s recent record in Masters finals and the fact that he got bread sticked in the second set. Ferrer was playing well, and how many times can you keep beating a player before they finally get a win?

Good stats for Roger

Even Roddick got three wins against Roger. I mean 16-0 is just an insane head-to-head against a quality player like Ferrer. I was just praying that Roger would beat Ferrer this one more time, because if he ever needed to beat him it was this time. Thank God he did and in doing so he broke the Masters final curse, won his 80th title, and qualified for the Masters Cup for a record 13th consecutive time. He surpasses Lendl who managed to qualify twelve consecutive times. At age 33 Roger is still setting up staggering records. The big news just a short while ago was that Nadal officially withdrew from the US Open. This is big for Roger as it removes possibly his biggest obstacle to winning the US Open. I would have been more worried about Nadal if he played than I am of Djokovic.

Djokovic have only won the US Open once, in 2011 when he was peaking. I don’t see how he can do it when he is in poor form. Roger will be second seed and can only meet Djokovic in the final. I’d be surprised if Djokovic gets that far, and even if he does I would still pick Roger if he is in the final. Roger is the in form guy and he would be a good shout to turn that Wimby final around. But like I said I don’t expect Djokovic to make the final. With Murray having problems since his comeback, Wawrinka inconsistent since winning the Australian Open, and Berdych in dire form it is hard to see who can stop Roger from winning #18 in New York. It feels like destiny to me too after what happened at Wimby. I never lost any sleep over that loss because I felt that the law of averages was against Roger there and that it would even out at some point.

Of course I am super excited about the US Open and the fact that Roger goes there as the favorite, but for now I just want to enjoy this title which has been two years in the making. Roger has now won a 250, a 500, and a Masters this year. Make no mistake about it, Masters are big. They are just below the slams and Masters Cup as far as prestige go. It is usually the big four that wins them. Tsonga winning Tonronto was an anomaly. So Roger is in good company winning this title. This title is special for me as a fan because 2013 was such a tough year as a fan and even though 2014 has been drastically different, Roger never won that one big title. I feared that even though he was having a resurgence in form that he won’t win anything really big, and that his star would just keep fading.

Ready for take off 3…2….1….

But being a Fedfan is no ordinary experience. It is the best because this man is an anomaly in almost every sense. He just keeps raising the bar and proving critics wrong. It’s unbelievable. You can’t have a better experience as a sports fan of an individual or a team, surely. And I still feel like Roger has not reachd his best level this year. I know I shouldn’t get over excited since this is Cincy and Roger gets assistance from the court speed, but I think Roger has learned a lot from his game in the last two weeks and it will give him huge confidence. I’m not worried about fatigue for the US Open either. This title will give Roger an energy boost if anything I think. He now has that winning feeling of a big event back and he will now want to scale the heights of slam glory for a staggering 18th time.

He has a week of rest ahead now so I think he will be ready and raring to go. The confidence will be so high now that he can probably win his early round without dropping sets and go into the second week with a full tank. Things are looking positive for New York but like I said I just wana enjoy this win now, and once the draw is made I will really start thinking about New York. I want to dedicate this win to all the true Fedfans out there and to my readers especially who have kept the faith throughout and never lost sight of what this is really about. It’s been a long dry spell but we are now well and truly back in the winners circle as fans, and who knows, we may even visit that hallowed ground of slam glory again in the near future. I am just excited for the rest of 2014 no matter what happens.

The race rankings are now as follows:

1 Djokovic 7430
2. Nadal 6650
3. Federer 6160.

Points to defend for the top three until year end are as follows:

Djokovic defends 5200 points into the end of the year.
Nadal defends 4020 points into the end of the year.
Federer defends only 1330 points.

Big smile for a big winner!

As you can see there is now a very real possibility that Roger could end the year ranked #1. I feel he needs to win the US Open to do so, and that is certainly a possibility. It’s unbelievable that at this stage of Roger’s career the #1 ranking is even a possibility, and a very exciting one at that. In the end it’s mostly about the slams though, and we all know Nadal will be back chasing Roger’s slam count again. So above anything I’d like Roger to win #18 in New York. But really there is no need to get obsessed over that now. Roger has got that big title in the bag and I thought the possibility that Roger could become #1 again is a very interesting one. But even if Roger wins nothing from now until year end it would already have been a special year, so I am just staying in the moment and enjoying all of it. I hope you do too!

 

Highlights:

Hot shot:

Flawless Federer Dismantles Raonic Serve to Make 6th Cincinnati Final

Well this was JesudFed through and through. To remove a huge server like Raonic 6-3, 6-2 from the draw in 67 minutes takes some doing. And he needed to be that quick because this time Cincy is trying to screw Roger with the draw. It was bad enough that Roger had to play the second semi not before 9 pm in the evening, but then they put on the WTA semi not before 7 pm. This means after the 71 minute 6-3, 6-2 drubbing of Ferrer over Benneteau in the first semi there was still more than 100 minutes of waiting for the WTA to start, as Ferrer and Benneteau started at 4 pm. And then the WTA comes out and delivers their speciality which is a boring three set marathon.  I don’t even know at what time Roger finally got on court. Probably around 10 pm. I mean it’s just disgusting scheduling. But Roger made a mockery of it by defeating Raonic in little more than an hour.

From the get go he looked the part, holding serve to love in the opening game and breaking Raonic right away. Then he held serve to love again to take a 3-0 lead. In fact he was peRFect on serve in the first set, not dropping a single point while making 69% of first serves. It gets no better. At 5-2 Roger then broke Raonic again after he was 15-40 down. Raonic finally served a double fault on set point. Roger was playing so well on his own serve that it put a lot of pressure on the Raonic serve which cracked under the pressure. Raonic ended with a 44% first serve percentage not because he was having a poor serving day, but because JesusFed was on the opposite end of the court. At the start of the second set Raonic had a break point on Roger’s serve but importantly Roger snuffed it out.

Things went according to serve until 4-3 where Roger got the break after playing a terrific return game and set up break point after ripping a backhand pass down the line. Roger then went to deuce on his own serve but consolidated to make his sixth final of the year and sixth Cincy final. Vily posted the stats on my last post which says Cincy is the only tourney that Roger has won 5+ times where he has a peRFect record in the final. So going by that and the fact that Roger has a peRFect 15-0 record against Ferrer Roger must be the heavy favorite going into the final. It was really the dream performance against Raonic where everything just worked out peRFectly. And it couldn’t have been more timely given the scheduling. If it went to three sets Roger would have been screwed for the final again but he took matters into his own hands and is not the favorite for the title.

As good as it gets

This is make or break for Roger but I have full faith that he will win in straight sets this time unlike Toronto where the courts were slower. Roger has looked the part ever since the Murray match and I don’t expect fatigue to play a roll in the final. In fact I can see him doing something similar to Ferrer than he did to Raonic. Raonic and Ferrer are both very one-dimensional players on the opposite sides of the spectrum. Roger likes playing these one-dimensional types since he is multi-dimensional himself and have way too much game for them if he plays anything close to his best. I have already said that if Roger beats Raonic then winning the title will be all but a certainty for Roger, and I’m not about to change my tune now. I am not trying to jinx Roger or be over confident.

Of course no outcome if ever certain but this is probably as certain as they come. A 15-0 head-to-head record against Ferrer and a 5-0 record in Cincy finals. Not much more than that needs to be said. Aside from the fact that on these slippery courts things could get embarrassing for Ferrer if the same Roger shows up. Roger needs to win the title if he wants to win the US Open I think. He has lost in three Masters finals this year now and Ferrer is basically a sitting duck for him in the Cincy final. If he loses it is four straight Masters final losses and it won’t get any easier than this. But I have full faith that Roger will seize this opportunity and go into the US Open as the outright favorite. But yeah he still needs to go out there and win it. The tourney won’t win itself for him. Unfortunately it turns out tomorrow is not a holiday for me.

I got the wrong info. That’s what happens when you try to speak English to Thai people! The final is smack bang in the middle of the morning hours for me too at 3 am, and I can actually feel my immune system weakening again. That said, I’m gonna do whatever I can to watch this match. A Masters title has been a long time coming for Roger. His last Masters title came at Cincy in 2012 so it has been exactly two years. He has been unlucky not to have won at least one Masters title this year already so it will be extra sweet if he can win Cincy. Therefor I don’t wana miss it. It is exciting times to be a Fedfan again. Not only does Roger have the chance to win a Masters at age 33 but if he does so he will also be my personal favorite for the US Open. There is just that feeling for me that the stars are aligning again for Roger.

YUSSS

Again, I’m not trying to jinx. Roger has played well all year but hasn’t quite been rewarded. Make no mistake, a Masters title will be intensely satisfying. For me anyway. And if he can do that then the excitement of possibly winning #18 in New York would be a treat by itself. I think it’s just amazing how Roger is playing at his age. Incredibly he leads the wins against top 10 opponents for 2014 at age 33. He also leads the pack for overall wins in 2014. How incredible is that?! It is really a dream to be a Fedfan as he keeps proving the critics wrong again and again. I feel like he has been building up to something this year too and that he is not even hit top gear yet. He even has a chance to end the year ranked #1, all be it a slim one. But he has a very real chance to end the year ranked #2, given Nadal is not even sure to be in New York.

That is amazing in itself. I just love how patient Roger has been and how he bode his time. The Wimbledon loss was tough but Roger just kept persevering and is now on the brink of a big pay off. And that could only be the beginning. There is still the US Open and Roger’s favorite indoor season ahead. It is astonishing to think what he can still achieve this year. But we need to stay grounded and take it match by match. The Cincy title is not in the bag yet and needs to be won. If he wins we can celebrate for a week and revel in the excitement of what is ahead in New York and indoor season. Well I’m starting to sneeze again so I’m gonna end it here and try to get some sleep before the final. Then hopefully tomorrow I can make a post about the final, and hopefully Roger will by then have his sixth Cincy title and 22nd Masters title in the bag!

 

Highlights:

Awesome backhand passes:

Murray No Match for The Fed Express on Speedy Cincy Courts

It was great to see Roger proving me wrong. I take being wrong and Roger winning over being right and Roger losing any day. In fact I may just try the jinxing thing in the future, even though I don’t believe in it. Should I say Roger will lose to Raonic?! I was especially thrilled with the fact that Roger got this done in straight sets without even entering a tie break. I mean I couldn’t have been more wrong, but I couldn’t have been happier about it at the same time! Roger looked the part right out of the starting blocks, and for once I can deliver a full report as I was able to watch the full match. I had to get up at 6 am on Saturday morning but it was more than worth the effort. Roger was threatening the Murray serve right from the start, and even though he was 0/6 in break point conversions early on I had a feeling he would just keep pushing for the break.

He looked to be in that kind of form. He got the break in the fifth game after Murray dragged a forehand cross court wide. Roger then had to save break points on his own serve in his next two service games, mostly with the help of his ever reliable serve. At 5-3 Roger broke Murray to 15 for good measure, and won the first set in doing so. It was an impressive start, but here was a lot of work left to do. Murray broke in the third game of the second set and all of a sudden he looked to be back in the match, while Roger was having a familiar slump at the beginning of the second set. The situation became worse when Murray broke Roger for a second time to take a 4-1 lead, but this time Murray could not consolidate. Roger set up break point at 30-15 with a divine little chip pass cross court. Murray saved the first break point with an ace, but Roger forced the issue on the next point to get one break back.

I still didn’t think it would be enough to come back in the second set. Then at 2-4 and 0-15 came the point of the match which may have played a big role in turning things around. A long rally ensued where Roger did some terrific defensive work, after which he capped it off with a blistering forehand down the like winner on the run. GOATing. Then at 3-4 Roger set up two more break points and Murray double faulted on the first. Now Roger was right back in the second set. Roger then set up game point in the next game with a delicious forehand winner that he took on the rise off an attacking return from Murray. He held serve to win four games on the trot and took a 5-4 lead. Murray was finally able to hold serve and even things up at 5-5. Roger responded in kind and at 5-6 Murray would serve to force the breaker.

You would think that would be the minimum he will be able to achieve after wasting a double break, but GOAT had other plans. Murray even had game point at 40-30, but Roger played two more terrific points to set up match point. The point to set up match point was particularly well crafted. By then Murray’s will was broken. Roger simply chipped a return back deep after which Murray dumped a forehand into the net. Game, set, and match! It was a masterful display that reminded of JesusFed. I mean the stats weren’t that impressive but the fact that Roger shut out a very dangerous opponent in straight sets without needing a tie break is an impressive enough stat. This was suppose to be Murray’s match where he gets a win over a top ten opponent and announces that he is a strong favorite for the US Open.

Yet Roger made him look like the opposite. I guess Roger is damn serious about winning his first Masters of the year and being the outright favorite for the US Open. With Stan losing to Benneteau Roger is now definitely the favorite to win Cincy. No doubt Raonic poses a threat but Roger is 5-0 against him and looks in no mood to let another Masters slip from his grasp. This is the Masters Roger has won no less than five times and the fast conditions provides the ideal opportunity to finally get his first Masters title of the year. Roger doesn’t look tired either. Good call from Eric again. He looked more motivated and energetic against Murray than I have seen him for a long time. He just looked the part. Of course this is Cincy and we shouldn’t get too excited because the US Open will be slower.

But I am just excited about the prospect of Roger winning his first Masters of the year. Never mind the US Open. And if he can do that then you would like his chances in New York too. Unless Nadal plays and his serve suddenly speeds up by 15 mph(which is highly likely given his history) then who is a serious contender for the title other than Roger? Nadal postponed his announcement as to whether he will play in New York, probably waiting to see the draw. Why is that even allowed? Who says Nadal is not just waiting to see what kind of draw he gets? That wouldn’t be fair. Anyway I am not sure about the rules here so I am just speculating. But knowing Nadal he will probably show up in New York playing like he never left the sport and win the title. It’s sickening but that’s what he does.

Roger played some Edberg-like volleys in this match

Only God knows how, although I have a very plausible explanation. But lets just focus on Roger. I like what I am seeing in the American hard court season and I don’t want to blow my own horn, but I did say right after the Wimbledon final that I am excited about North-America and that it could just be where Roger’s fortunes change. I mean there was always the chance that Djokovic was not gonna be highly motivated after the big relief and release that Wimbledon was for him. He had broken the slam final curse and he had his own wedding coming up. It wasn’t very hard to call that he could be there for the taking. Roger means business. It is clear. He senses there can be a great opportunity for him here and I love how he is seizing the moment. I think the Murray match was always gonna be key for him and I can’t help but like his chances to win the title now.

Sure Raonic is an obstacle with his big serve and attacking game on the fast courts, but Roger is a great returner of big serves and there is a reason he has a 5-0 record against Raonic. The last time he beat Raonic was in the Wimbledon semis after Raonic was on a hot run. Yet Roger made him look average. I mean he didn’t even need a breaker to straight set arguably the biggest server in tennis today. So you can’t help but like his chances again. If he wins he has probably Ferrer in the final who plays Benneteau. Either one would be almost a gimme for Roger in the final given the surface and the opponent. You’d think if he beats Raonic this title is all but in the bag. I am excited now and grateful that Roger beat Murray because now I am finally able to watch some tennis. Monday is even a holiday here so I’d be able to watch the final too and make a post the same day.

It’s been a bit of a rough time with the blogging given my health was not optimal and the time difference with the US, so I am looking forward to watch more tennis and keep you up to date. As far as Roger’s game itself against Murray goes I loved how he mixed things up with his slices and the beautifully constructed points. There was nothing in particular that stood out other than maybe the ever reliable serve, but Roger’s break point conversion rate was solid again after a poor start and he just played a great match in general. Murray is good himself at mixing things up and constructing points so it was an entertaining match with some great points. It will be entirely different story against Raonic where it will just be a question again of being good on return and taking his chances when they present themselves.

Come on champ, get it done!

 

 Highlights:

THAT rally: