Top-ranked Roger Federer tuned up for the U.S. Open by winning the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati for a record fifth time in tennis’s Open era.
Federer beat Novak Djokovic of Serbia 6-0, 7-6 (9-7) in yesterday’s final to tie Rafael Nadal’s record 21 titles in Masters series events, the tier below the Grand Slams. The Swiss held his service throughout the tournament.
“This was probably the best week ever here in Cincinnati for me never dropping my serve and all that stuff and beating Novak in the final,” Federer, 31, said in comments released by the ATP World Tour. “This was very sweet. No doubt about it.”
The victory gave Federer his third Masters title this year following Indian Wells and Madrid and ensured he’ll keep the No. 1 ranking after the U.S. Open, the season’s final major that begins Aug. 27 at the National Tennis Center in New York.
Federer reclaimed the No. 1 ranking after winning Wimbledon for a seventh time in July. On July 16, he began his 287th week as the No. 1 player, eclipsing Pete Sampras’s record.
Federer’s win over Andy Murray in the Wimbledon final took his tally of Grand Slam singles titles to a record-extending 17. He won the U.S. Open five straight times from 2004.
The 25-year-old Djokovic, the defending champion in New York, has appeared in the final in Cincinnati four times in five years, losing every time. Federer now leads Djokovic 16-12 in career meetings.
Li Na of China, the 2011 French Open champion, fought back from a set and a break down to take the women’s title with a 1-6, 6-3, 6-1 victory against Angelique Kerber of Germany. It was Li’s first tournament with Carlos Rodriguez, who helped Justine Henin win seven Grand Slam titles, as her coach.
“I was really hungry for the title,” Li, 30, said. “I was having lunch and saw Roger after he won, having his photo taken. I really wanted to do the same.”