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Serena Williams, Roger Federer Claim Titles in Cincinnati

Serena Williams overcame a nagging lower back to claim her first Rookwood Trophy with a 6-4, 6-1 comprehensive win over 9-seed Ana Ivanovic.

After her semifinal win, Williams complained about stiffness in her back, which may have been a result of playing back-to-back tournaments in Stanford, Montreal, and Cincinnati.

Williams started out sluggish, looking flat footed and struggling with movement. As a result, Ivanovic got a break of serve to open the match. She would go on to take a 3-1 lead before Serena got into motion.

Williams would hold off three break points on her next service game to hold at 2-3 before really coming to life, getting more pace on her shots, moving Ivanovic around the court more. The next game, Williams would break Ivanovic’s suspect service game at love to level the set.

That broken service game at love would be the tipping point as Williams would on to win nine of the next eleven games in the match to easily secure her first title in Cincinnati.

Her stat line showed vintage Serena: 12 aces, 26 winners, 14 unforced errors.

Williams’ win brings a sense of return to normalcy on the WTA tour. Williams has not won a Grand Slam or Premier tournament this year before Cincinnati. With Victoria Azarenka being out much of this year with injuries, Li Na falling apart, and Sharapova’s fluctuating results the WTA tour would have been in a state of uncertainty with none of its stars playing well.

“Definitely my best performance of the summer,” she said. “Hopefully not the last.”

The Williams on display this week was the Williams that tore apart the tour last year, winning 11 titles while compiling a 34-match win streak.

 

Roger Federer won his sixth Western & Southern Open title with a 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 win over 6-seed David Ferrer.

The win represented Federer’s largest tournament win in the last two years, since he previously won in Cincinnati in 2012.

The first set was routine throughout, with neither player making any headway on the other’s serve as the first seven games would see each player hold without a game going to deuce. Serving at 3-4, Ferrer would commit a slew of errors and double fault to give the break to Federer. Ferrer would see a single break opportunity in the next game but could not convert as Federer would take the first set 6-4.

David Ferrer would not wilt to the pressure of Federer. In the first game of the second set, Ferrer held serve in an 18-point game, holding off five break points before holding. Federer would be broken in his next two service games, committing 13 errors in the second set. Ferrer, in contrast, would play a very clean game, having 12 winners and only 5 unforced errors in the set while taking the second set 6-1. It was only the fifth set Ferrer has taken off Federer in their career head-to-head meetings.

In the third set, Federer would up his level, breaking for a 3-1 lead. He would again break to close the match at 6-2. On his first match point, Federer hit a backhand that missed the far sideline by mere millimeters. On the next match point, Ferrer would hit a backhand that would be called out by the linesman but good by the chair umpire. Again, Federer challenged, this time correct by a millimeter, giving Federer the break, set, and match.

“I never can beat Roger,” said Ferrer, who fell to 0-16 against Federer. “He’s too much for me. But anyway, in the senior tour, I will win, I think.”

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