World No. 1 Roger Federer and former French Open champ Li Na captured the championships Sunday at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Swiss Federer took advantage of an off No. 2 seed Novak Djokovic 6-0, 7-6(7), while Li needed to work harder, outlasting Top 10er Angelique Kerber of Germany in a see-saw 1-6, 6-3, 6-1 battle.
Djokovic appeared listless in the first set, but quickly got his game on line in the second, pushing the Swiss who eventually collected his first Cincy title as a dad, and fifth career.
“This was the first win here I had also after I had twins, right? So it’s great coming back here,” Federer said. “I’ve been able to win five. It’s obviously incredible because I remember the first few here I struggled. Now looking back it’s just unbelievable. Plus 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. This was very sweet. No doubt about it.”
Federer improved to 6-2 in finals this year. Djokovic was appearing in his fourth final in five years at Cincy, and is 0-4 in finals during that period.
“Made a lot of double faults and didn’t find my rhythm,” Djokovic said. “Set was over in 20 minutes. I played better in the second. I thought it was very even, and then when I had the chances I didn’t use them. I didn’t step into the court, and he deserved to win.”
Li won her first title since the French Open last year, rebounding from a spectacular won-my-first-Slam-and-tanked-from-the-pressure binge.
“I was trying to play flat and fast, but she had no mistakes and every ball came back to my side,” said Li, now with coach Carlos Rodriguez, formerly of Justine Henin. “I tried to change something at the beginning of the second set but it didn’t work, but I just kept trying and finally it worked. I’m very happy to win this title and now I’ll take two days off — I’ve played a lot of tennis these two weeks.”
Li was 0-3 in finals this year entering Cincinnati.
“I was really hungry for the title today,” Li said. “Also, I was having lunch today and saw Roger after he won, having his photo taken — I really wanted to do the same.”
Kerber snapped Serena Williams’ 19-match winning streak in the semifinals.
“One year ago I was everywhere — I was just in the hundreds, I don’t know, like No. 90 or No. 100,” Kerber said. “Now I’m in the finals of Cincinnati, a really big tournament, so there are so many things that have changed in the last year.”
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