After a successful 2012 season in which he won Wimbledon and three Masters 1000 titles, Roger Federer gradually lost pace to his main rivals. The Swiss had to wait two years for the next big title in Cincinnati 2014.
In the weeks before, Roger had lost the Wimbledon final to Novak Djokovic and another in Toronto to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga after losing a sizeable lead. The Swiss didn’t have much time to think about this defeat and focused on Cincinnati, one of his favorite tournaments on the calendar.
Federer started relatively slowly against Vasek Pospisil and Gael Monfils. Raising his level against top-10 opponents Andy Murray and Milos Raonic, he prevailed for the final clash with David Ferrer on August 17. It was their 16th meeting on the tour and it was Federer’s 16th triumph.
He beat the Spaniard 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 in an hour and 42 minutes to claim the 80th ATP title. This made Roger only the third player in the Open era to do so, after Jimmy Connors and Ivan Lendl! The Swiss won eight points more than the Spaniard and played better on the first and second serves.
Competitors hit more winners than unforced errors, aided by no fewer than 25 break chances that kept the crowd happy. Roger fended off nine of 11 and grabbed three returns from 14 opportunities, dominating in sets he won to lift the sixth Ohio Trophy.
Ferrer had the advantage in the longer changes of five shots or more. Nevertheless, he could not keep up with Federer in the shortest range of up to four strokes. Roger developed a 54-38 advantage that gave him the win. Federer started his engines right from the opening point, holding with an ace in the first game and taking another comfortable hold to take a 2-1 lead.
However, David was there to fight. He brought the sixth game home with a service winner to level the score at 3-3 after just 17 minutes and looked determined to give Roger a fight for his money.
Roger Federer won his 80th ATP title in Cincinnati in 2014 at the age of 33.
On the other hand, everything worked like clockwork for Roger.
He won the seventh game with three winners and went 5-3 after Ferrer’s costly double fault. Suddenly, a few minutes later, David created three break chances. Still, it wasn’t to be for him, which was denied by two volley winners from Federer, who played against another break point when his forehand landed long.
The Swiss did so with a service winner, finishing the first set in 30 minutes when David’s backhand ended off the court. The Spaniard parried no fewer than four break chances in the opening game of the second set.
He created three chances in the second game and was hoping for the first advantage. Federer fended them off with three wins before Ferrer converted the fourth after forcing Roger’s backhand error. A strong hold at 15 gave David a 3-0 lead.
Standing on the court as the dominant figure, he capitalized on another break in game four when Federer’s drop shot failed to cross the net. Ferrer held at love to sprint into a 5-0 lead, taking 15 of the last 17 points and leaving 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 so with a volley winner at net and parried another with a good serve to decide the game and at least gain some momentum.
David saved a break point in game seven, and after a backhand down the line, the set was in his hands. He matched Roger’s numbers in the quickest exchanges and created a lead in the extended ones that delivered the set for him.
It was important for Federer to get past that part of the match and get off to a strong start in the deciding set. He fired a service winner to win the opening game and added four more direct points in the third game to make it 2-1.
His forehand was business again, which was a turning point. Federer broke Ferrer in the fourth game to open the advantage and finished the next with four winners at 4-1. David saved numerous break chances to close the deficit in game six but that’s all we saw of him.
Federer quickly held with four winners after that, forcing his rival to serve to stay in the match. The Spaniard suffered another break in game eight when his backhand missed the baseline and Roger was able to start a celebration of the most remarkable title in two years.