Sunday, August 23, 2015 8:45 pm
Federer captured his 87th tour-level title and 24th at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 stage. Having beaten World No. 2 Andy Murray in the semi-finals, it marked the first time he had toppled the No. 1 and No. 2 players in the Emirates ATP Rankings in consecutive matches en route to a title.
Federer will reclaim the No. 2 spot from the Scot when the new rankings are released on Monday.
He takes home $731,000 and 1,000 Emirates ATP Rankings points, adding to Cincinnati titles won in 2005, ’07, ’09-10, ’12 and ’14. The Swiss finishes the week not conceding a break of serve in 49 service games.
“I tried to really mix it up on his second serve and I was hoping to serve good enough myself to keep me out of trouble,” Federer reflected during an interview with ESPN following the match. “He had that one bad game at the beginning of the second set, which made the difference in the match.
“I’ve seen Novak adapt to my play over the years and he’s also improved a lot. His movement and his backhand and forehand are always so solid. There aren’t many errors coming out of his forehand wing now. Our rivalry has definitely evolved.”
Djokovic, meanwhile, was vying to complete the Career Golden Masters, falling to 0-5 in Cincinnati finals (2008-09, ’11-12). A 24-time ATP World Tour Masters 1000 champion, he falls to 54-26 in tour-level finals.
“I think he’s more aggressive here than in any other tournament because the surface and conditions allow him to play very fast,” said Djokovic. “He generally copes well with the fast balls, the fast game. He likes this rhythm.
“It was right tactics for him. I knew coming into the match he was going to be aggressive. No question about it. So I tried to handle it. I did well until the tie-break in the first set. After that, he was just the better player.
“I made some double faults, dropped my (first) service game (in the second set). The way I played this week, it’s great I managed to reach the finals.”
Federer owns a 21-20 edge in their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry, exacting revenge on Djokovic following the Serb’s victory in their most recent meeting – the 2015 Wimbledon final. Djokovic is 3-2 this year, also claiming wins on the clay of Rome and hard courts of Indian Wells. Federer’s other victory came in the Dubai title match.