Falling just short of his seventh straight US Open final, Roger Federer entered the final Slam of the season by capturing his 17th career Masters 1000 title in Cincinnati.
Defeating Mardy Fish in the championship match in Ohio, Federer captured his 63rd career title, while ending a seventh month title-drought after winning the Australian Open in January.
Federer also reached the finals of the Rogers Cup in a losing effort to Andy Murray, but not before defeating Tomas Berdych and Novak Djokovic en route.
The Swiss displayed his gritty fighting spirit in Toronto, while taking advantage of a cushy draw to prevail in Cincinnati. While his serve was cooking in both tournaments, the current world No. 3 improved on his footwork in Mason, and took that part of his skill set into his first five rounds in New York.
Telling the on-court crowd after his victory, “I’ve been serving for 20 years, and if I was called to serve at 4 a.m. I would,” Federer notched his 13th career victory against the formidable Swede. For those you that were in attendance for Federer’s victory over Soderling, it was perhaps the greatest display of footwork that any player could have put forth under the difficult conditions.
If there’s one area of Federer’s game that he could improve on, it would be his self motivation. Federer has accomplished so much for so many years that the thrill of capturing the sport’s biggest titles may have eluded him.
I’m not suggesting that Djokovic didn’t earn his victory over Federer because he did, but the Swiss has squandered a ton of crucial points this season in various matches, and that could very well be attributed to his lack of focus.
That extra gear of ruthless desire to finish an opponent off is what carried Federer to great heights throughout his dominant years, and if he’s adamant on reaching that level again, he’ll have to buckle down and take chances on the bigger points.
If Federer had gone down the line with that particular forehand pass I know it’s easy to sit here and say that now he would have without question won that point.
Pulling out of this weekend’s Davis Cup playoff round, Federer is scheduled to see action at the Shanghai Masters in China as his next event.
Although Federer has played his entire career with the fluidity and ease that even his contemporaries have marveled over, the closing stages of his truly storied campaign will require him to place more attention and guts on playing every point like it is match point.
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