Federer aggressive in seventh W&S Open win

W&SO Men-144106Story by J. Justin Boggs, photos by Sam Fahmi

MASON – The crowd at the Lindner Family Tennis Center instantly rose to its feet Sunday afternoon as Roger Federer watched Novak Djokovic’s final shot go long clinching Federer’s seventh title at the Western and Southern Open.

Federer threw both of his hands into the air after he defeated the world’s No. 1 player 7-6, 6-3 in 90 minutes. Federer had to endure a long first set before quickly dispatching Djokovic in the second set.

Federer improved to 7-0 in the finals of the Western and Southern Open, including three wins over Djokovic in the finals.

Winning the title was not something Federer expected coming into the tournament.

“I knew I had a chance, but still felt more guys were going to have a better shot than I had because they played Montreal before,” Federer said, after skipping the Rogers Cup last week. “That normally helps. I just realized over all the years that I’ve player it’s just really difficult to win back-to-back.”

Federer improved to 21-20 all time against Djokovic. Federer showed an aggressive side as he went to the net 33 times in the match compared to just eight attempts at the net by Djokovic. The tactic paid off as Federer won 24 of the 33 times he went to the net.

“He plays more aggressive here,” Djokovic said. “The surface and conditions here play in his favor very much so. I find it easier to play against him in some other tournaments than here.”

The new aggressive style by Federer is working for him now, but one he is not going to stick to permanently.

“Can’t always do it,” Federer said. “Some surfaces allow you to do it better than others, but this week, it worked out well. Let’s be honest, I didn’t do it on every single second serve, but I was very aggressive.”W&SO Men-140718

Frustration kicked in for Djokovic who is 0-5 in the finals of the Open. Djokovic said that with each failed attempt at a title in Mason, he gets hungrier for a win. The Open is the final ATP Masters 1,000 event that Djokovic has failed to accomplish.

“You can’t win all the time,” Djokovic said. “Of course it’s disappointing at this stage to reflect on the match. Could have done some things better, but I lost to a better player, no question about it.”

The two combatants went toe to toe in the first set before Federer ran away with the first-set tiebreaker. Federer won the tiebreak 7-1.

Going into the second set, Djokovic looked disjointed. After holding serve to start the second set, Federer easily broke Djokovic’s serve in the second game of the set. Djokovic double faulted on three shots in the game, which was the only break of serve for either player.

“He puts a lot of pressure on your second serves and comes in,” Djokovic said. “Yeah, just lost rhythm on my serve completely second set.”

W&SO Men-142300Djokovic – widely considered the best returner in tennis – was unable to break Federer’s serve. Djokovic won just 21 percent of return points.

Next up for most of the pros after this week is the US Open, which is the final Grand Slam of the year. Despite being ranked No. 1 in the world, Djokovic is not pleased with where his game is going into the event.

“Still not very happy with my form and with my game,” he said, “but I have a week to work on it. Conditions in New York suit me a little better.”

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