Cincinnati Flashback: Roger Federer moves closer to Rafael Nadal

Roger Federer moves closer to Rafael Nadal

Roger Federer clinched the fourth Cincinnati crown in one of the toughest challenges of his successful Ohio campaigns in 2010. Roger defeated Mardy Fish 6-7, 7-6, 6-4 in two hours and 40 minutes to clinch the trophy to fetch. It was Roger’s second title of the season after the Australian Open.

He had lost a number of close encounters in recent months, including quarter-final defeats by Robin Soderling and Tomas Berdych at Roland Garros and Wimbledon. After that Cincinnati triumph, Roger’s year took a more positive turn.

He reached the semifinals of the US Open and won Stockholm, Basel and the year-end No. 2 ATP Finals. The Swiss played three games before the final. Two of those were completed encounters, with Denis Istomin retiring in the opening set and Philipp Kohlschreiber retiring due to injury.

Still, Federer needed everything he had in his arsenal to emerge victorious against Mardy. He edged out the American for the sixth time in seven encounters after losing the previous one in straight sets at Indian Wells 2008.

Roger’s 63rd ATP crown put him closer to Bjorn Borg and Pete Sampras. He also equaled Andre Agassi’s record of 17 Masters 1000 titles and was one behind leader Rafael Nadal. The American fired 17 aces after landing just 56% of the first serve.

He saved four out of five break points to stay in touch with the multiple champion. Federer was a better player on the first and second serve. He saved the only break point offered to Fish and prevailed with a late break in the ninth game of the decider that secured the fourth Ohio trophy in the past six years.

Both players hit more unforced errors than winners. Roger was a more aggressive character on the pitch, shooting more direct points and rushing into the net more often than Mardy.

Roger Federer claimed the fourth Cincinnati title against Mardy Fish in 2010.

In the shortest rallies, the American had a slight lead thanks to his serve.

However, Federer earned the midfield win and engineered them more efficiently to cross the finish line first. Already in the third game of the encounter, Fish had a break chance. He saved it with a service winner and after Roger’s weak forehand, wiped out another that could have put him in front.

After nine twos and nearly 15 minutes, Mardy finally brought the game home to avoid an early setback. Both players served well in the following five games, staying at 4-4. Federer created another break chance in game nine, which was denied by Fish’s ace on the T-line.

We saw the first deuces in the Swiss games when the score was 4-5. Still, Fish couldn’t create any break chances as he had to think about defending his game a few minutes later. He landed an ace to ward off danger and secure a tiebreak. The American took a 4:3 lead after a deep return.

However, he only stayed ahead for a few moments before Roger immediately pulled the mini-break back down the line with an excellent forehand. Federer went ahead with another forehand winner before losing the following two points on serve to fall 6-5 behind.

Fish secured the win with a service winner after a grueling 67 minutes. Mardy had a colossal chance to postpone a set and break up when he created a break chance in the second set when the score was 2-2. He squandered it with a terrible forehand from a well constructed attack that could have gotten him closer to the finish line.

Roger held after three deuces with a service winner to avoid danger. Nothing could separate them at the end of the set, arranging another tie break with all the pressure on Federer’s side of the net. A true champion, Roger took the breaker 7-1 and sealed it with an ace to send the encounter into a decider after two hours of play.

The first deuce in the final set came in game six when Federer saved after a service winner. He delivered the crucial break when Mardy hit a backhand to make it 4-4 for the only successful return leg. Serving for the crown in game 10, Federer held at 30 after Fish’s backhand error to celebrate his fourth and toughest Cincinnati title since 2005.

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