Federer, Serena Win Cincy and Favorites Status Entering US Open
by Jeremy Davis | August 23rd, 2015, 7:46 pm

What do Cincinnati titles for Roger Federer and Serena Williams mean for their appearances at the US Open in a week’s time?
It means they are the favorites.

Not because it’s Cincy, and not because it’s a week before the US Open. Serena is a no-brainer, dominant in trying to become the first American to achieve the calendar-year Grand Slam in the Open Era.

On Sunday in Cincinnati Serena put down her closest rival, Simona Halep who defeated her at the 2014 year-end championships, 6-3, 7-6(5) to win back-to-back Cincinnati titles.

“I’m ready,” said Williams regarding the US Open, where the world’s eyes will be upon her every move. “I don’t care if I win or lose or break even. I’m ready to start it, get it over with and be done and go on to the next event. But I’m so ready for New York.”

For Halep it was a second straight runner-up finish after the Rogers Cup in Toronto last week, and afterwards she gave the American her blessing.

“I know you can do four,” Halep told Williams during the trophy presentation regarding her upcoming New York campaign.

In the men’s final Federer displayed why he should be the favorite entering New York, while Novak Djokovic showed he will come in a question mark despite his world No. 1 ranking.

Confidence oozed from Federer during his 7-6(1), 6-3 win over Djokovic in the Cincinnati final on Sunday. The pressure was on Djokovic to complete the “Masters Slam” by winning Cincinnati, but he crumbled/tanked to 0-5 career in Cincinnati finals.

The crumble was some physical, mostly mental. Federer slapped winners and rushed the net with abandon, at one point causing Djokovic to try and hit through Federer when the Swiss hit-and-charged his second serve. Djokovic has been bothered this week by an arm issue and earlier in the week possibly by a niggle in his side, but on Sunday Federer was the only thing — be it a thorn? — in his side.

After getting rolled in the first set tiebreak, Djokovic was broken early in the second set, then mentally gave up, tanking two games to make the result just a matter of time.

“I’ve never won this title, so I guess I have to wait for Roger to retire, then try to do something after,” a light-hearted Djokovic said during the trophy ceremony. “But I’ve been really trying, giving my best.”

Uh, maybe during the first set.

“Today wasn’t the day,” Djokovic said. “I’ve been coming back each year wanting it more and more, and I want to thank you all for giving me support.”

Federer tried to lift Djokovic’s spirits with some humble-bragging during his acceptance speech.

“I really hope for you that you can win here one day,” Federer said. “Of course he deserves it — come on. So close, so many years.”

Bet that took a lot of the sting out, eh Djokovic camp?

But what an incredible rivalry this is turning out to be. This year in Dubai Federer beat the Serb in the final by crushing the net with abandonment. Then Djokovic won finals at Rome, Indian Wells and Wimbledon. Now Federer returns with a win at Cincy, inching ahead 21-20 in their career meetings.

Now onto the US Open where Djokovic will take a week off to hopefully heal his elbow, and Federer will try and maintain his level of runaway confidence and net mastery that will make him the one to beat at Flushing Meadows.

“I think he’s more aggressive here than in any other tournament because the surface and conditions allow him to play very fast,” Djokovic hypothesized. “He generally copes well with the fast balls, fast game. He likes this rhythm; I don’t too much. It was right tactics for him.”

Federer, who has apparently opened a battle of head games, said getting in Djokovic’s face time after time was right on time.

“That was the plan, to keep asking question after question,” the Swiss said. “I’m happy it worked out very well. On the return I was able to mix things up very nicely, and on my serve I was rock solid. If you don’t get broken, you can do whatever you want on the return games. I was trying to do that again today, but I was happy I took care of my serve throughout the match.”

Ivan Lendl used to try and take John McEnroe’s head off when the American came in on a whim and a prayer. It was interesting to see Djokovic try and drill Federer on one of his second-serve approaches, though the ball found the net. Djokovic’s post-match comments on the Federer rush-and-crush tactic?

“He was trying, this week, something new,” the Serb said. “I have no comment about it.”

Who looks comfortable entering the US Open? Put Federer and Serena at the end of your brackets.

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68 Comments for Federer, Serena Win Cincy and Favorites Status Entering US Open

st4r5 Says:

Did he just beat two young guns at one tournament? Murray and Djokovic were both beaten by a 34 years old Fed?

skeezer Says:

Yes! In there PRIME years, Lol.

Gordon Says:

St4r5 – and Fed offered neither a break opportunity, let alone a break.

Dc Says:

Fed is th only layer to have won 7 or more tournaments on two different surfaces. And he’s done this twice.
7 cinch, 8 Haley’s, 7 wimby, 7 Dubai.

Rare feats by the rarest gem in tennis.

Humble Rafa Says:

Yes! In there PRIME years, Lol.

You didn’t do well in English, no?

skeezer Says:

Better than you are in Spanish, no?
Get a Cat, you always talk about them, maybe you need one.

Thangs Says:

Fed winning cincy is not relevant to US Open. He always does good in cincy and loose QF/Semi in USO

skeezer Says:

Tell us, how relevant would it be if Rafa won Cincy this year? Thoughts?

Ahfi Says:

Oooh, what a life, Thangs. LOL. Thangs, please answer Skeezer’s question. Hi hi hi…

Angel Says:

Thangs, if you didn’t know Federer has won the US Open 5 Times and Djokovic and Murray should be both ashame that a 34 years old player beat them in straights sets.

Jay Says:

Hilarious the age factor always being brought up. If Federer loses its, well he’s 34 losing against people in the prime, lets see how those guys play when they’re 34. And if Federer wins its, what a shame these guys in their prime are losing to an old man.

cheat nadal Says:

congratulations Roger.

skeezer Says:

“Hilarious the age factor always being brought up.”
Nit hilarious, just fact.
Wait till Novak, Rafa and murray are 34. Then “age” will be a factor, no?lol.

jalep Says:

So what, Jay? ;)

These guys, Nole, Andy, Rafa might play betterer at age 34! It’s a new world. Let’s wait and see. Don’t forget, Wawrinka just got going, too.

Gives us hope for the Lost Generation struggling in their mid-twenties. And the Dimitrov’s of tennis.

Jay Says:

Skeezer, age will be a factor. But the way it’s constantly brought up is mostly used as a means to play up Federer and/or play down anyone else. See above for my 2 examples. Age is used to play up Federer when he wins, Age is used to play up Federer when he loses. And occasionally in either one of these 2 cases, age is also used to play down people either Federer loses to, or wins against.

Michael Says:

Congratulations to Roger for adding another to his illustrious collection of Master series crown numbered 24 and still counting. In this feat, he has beat Andy and Novak back to back and coincidentally this also happens to be the first time when he is beating the 1st and 2nd ranked players consecutively in the semis and finals to win a tournament. That he is doing at his age is just incredible.

What a tournament he played right from the start displaying impeccable consistency blended with ruthless efficiency, aggressive tactics with courageous forays into the net and exhibition of sheer power with blitzkeirg shots which the opponent can only watch with amazement. In all it was a master class performance.

Actually the scoreline deceives the manner in which Novak was beaten black and blue. There was not a single break point that Novak could manage to extract from Roger’s serve while Roger on the other end had numerous break points going abegging, sticking to a familiar pattern that has a major weakness in his game. And if Roger had managed to make good a few of those break points, then the score line would have ended as a major embarrassment for Novak. And what should be more discomfiting for Novak is that Roger was not even serving as well in the finals as he was throughout the tournament just clocking about 58% of first serves and still arguably the best returner in the game could not make use of this let down ? Novak the fighter was giving the impression of being fatalistic in this particular match and his much acclaimed fighting qualities never came to the fore as he was just going through the motions reconciled to the inevitable.

To summarize, this is really a morale boosting win for Roger ahead of the US open and it should give him great amount of confidence going into the tournament. But, that said, majors are always different and the court conditions too differs. Roger made best use of the quick courts at Cincinnati, a luxury which would not be available to him at the US open where the balls relatively travel slow. Yet it is a major, Roger has won five times consecutively in his career and you cannot rule him out. More importantly, he has become the World No.2 once again by successfully defending his title !!

Michael Says:


Age will always remain a factor and that is the way it is. You cannot help it. I do not think anybody at 34 was consistently ranked in the top two and displaying such impeccable consistency as Roger is doing over the years. When he wins or loses, the age factor will always be brought up. Surely, Novak and Andy have no business to lose to Roger so badly at this age !!

st4r5 Says:

Okay, people don’t like to hear age factor of the Fed, so let’s just say that both Murray and Djokovic were beaten by the GOAT.

dapris Says:

Congrats federer.too bad djokovic will obviously finish his career with more masters 1000 than federer.at least federer can say he ruled the slams.about being favourite, does it matter?? people should acting as if it does

skeezer Says:

Here’s a thought, out of top 3 ( exclude the GOAT ), who do you think will have the longest successful career ( into the 30’s and beyond ), Murray, Rafa or Novak?
I would pick Novak, his body type is built fo it. Of course who knows with potential injuries….

Okiegal Says:

You probably aren’t directing this question to me…..but I would definitely pick Novak…..

sienna Says:



Gypsy Gal Says:

Okie or me,yeah i would say Novak,but then again he also seems to look gassed out alot lately,you also have to also take into account their desire to still play,not everybody eats,sleeps,breaths tennis the way Roger does,they might decide theyve had enough of the tour and the lifestyle etc,but there seems to be many players that are playing into their 30s,Roger,Ferrer,Lopez,Robredo these days though so who knows?….

First Serve Says:

Age is indeed a factor with Fed. It is very tough for him to play 2 grueling back-to-back matches at peak level. He was able to this time around because of the best of 3 format, prolonged off-time that he enjoyed and the tactical changes which helped in keeping points short while constantly putting pressure on the opponents. At Wimbledon he was spent after the mentally draining semi-final with Andy and just could not make his serve work in the finals. He may not have the focus and the will any more to win 15 shots base-line rallies with the likes of Djokovic, Murray and Nadal, and with the options at his disposal he is being stubborn and silly to even entertain those scenarios. He is still fast enough and technically way ahead of Djokovic and the rest; and has the variation which Djoker, Andy, etc. can only envy, at best. However, his body and, more importantly, the mind at 34 take longer to recharge after a tough match. And, therein lies the problem and precisely why you cannot outrun the clock.

nits Says:

If you don’t consider last grand slam runner up & world no. 2 as a hot favourite then you are simply “INSANE”

nits Says:

The way federer was playing he would have also beaten nadal in straight sets in quaters if they would have met. Nadal must be thanking his stars

nits Says:

Although scoreline suggest a decent match there was never a moment in whole match where it looked djokovic could have won. Djokovic was simply outplayed, but still there is a big problem in federer’s game not able to convert so many break points. He needs to work on this part if he wants No. 18 rest all aspects are fine.

nits Says:

This win has spiced up things for USO. Djokovic is looking beatable now only federer, Murray , hot wawranika or a non choking version of gulbis or goffin or Anderson cann beat him. But sorry there non choking version I think doesn’t exist. So it’s left to three guys to take him out.

nits Says:

I don’t like a dominant player winning 2 or 3 slams. I believe in sharing.For me 2012 was a good year every one was happy.

Wog Boy Says:

I don’t see Nole fans raising the age question (past and present), it was actually mostly done by some Roger fans, so leave us out of “age battles”, we take our loses on the chin and move on, same as our favorite (No1e) does.
I’ve seen similar hype with “new” Roger fans after Shanghai last year, remember the outcome?;)

Wog Boy Says:

To answer your question about Jarryd Hayne from the other thread. He played Rugby league football, the game I follow. We were all shocked when he announced that he will have a crack at NFL, usually Rl players change code, but to Rugby Union, more money and bigger game internationally. He was the best rugby leagu player when he was on, great receiver, great step, side step, dummy step, passing game…whole package…pity he played for the opposition, Eels instead of Bulldogs, which is my club. Good luck to Hayne the plane.
Nice article about him from NRL official site:

dapris Says:

Kudos federer,as the curtains call draws near is good u get some important trophies.as a Novak fan I dont mind,as we all know the end is nigh. Just close your eyes and savour these moments as they are your last

danica Says:

Regarding age discussion, here is from one Nole fan :)). You Roger fans are often putting him down. One hears how the state of tennis is dismal since a 34 year old is #2, everyone is playing badly and this is in fact a weak era. Instead, you should say that the field is incredibly deep and talented, that a lot of players play great games and can on a good day win against anyone, but here is one guy who defies logic and at 34 plays amazing game and can still trash anyone. That’s a testament to his greatness, you guys!

Skeezer Says:

wog boy,
Thanks for that. Yeah saw him last night, he was incredible! Hope he makes the team 👍

danica Says:

“Okay, people don’t like to hear age factor of the Fed, so let’s just say that both Murray and Djokovic were beaten by the GOAT.”

They were beaten by Roger in one tournament where he obviously dominated. The surface suits his game. So?
However, he was beaten by both Murray and Djokovic earlier this year on clay, and both times in the finals of a masters. Just like he denied Cincy to Nole, Nole denied him the Rome masters. Even more shocking was Andy’s win considering the fact that Andy didn’t win anything on clay until this year.

As for the favorite spot at the USO, Roger can only be a cofavorite.

FedExpress Says:

still pumped

Orkneyfudge Says:

@ Danica: “However, he was beaten by both Murray and Djokovic earlier this year on clay, and both times in the finals of a masters.”

Sorry, not correct – Roger has never played Murray on clay, and he has, in fact, won the last 5 matches they’ve played against each other(since AO 2014)!

Anyway, absolutely brilliant week for Roger at Cincy, and a fantastic win! Now for the USO – Go Rogi!!

Sirius Says:


you must be living in another universe cause Murray haven’t even played against Federer on clay let alone beating him. The last time he beat federer on any surface was in 2013 AO.

calmdownplease Says:

She meant Nadal at Madrid.
Dont worry Fedlings Federer will not be having it his own way soon enough
But congrats to him on a most suitable win

sienna Says:

yes Danica
and the poser not once acknowledged a FED shot.

sienna Says:

Who is Nadal?

sienna Says:

actually novak is the only one who can keep up with Federer.
Question is for how long. After Novak is gone like Nadal and Murphy Federer single handedly bumped another generation.

his methods may have changed but after US open outcome will be the same.

Daniel Says:

That’s why surface matters

A while back many were saying Djoko was the better HC playee than Federer. He my be some day but as it stands henis the better slow HC Player and Federer the best fast HC player. Fed has 5 USO, 6 WTF, 7 Cincy, 7 Dubai, 1 Shangai and 1 Paris Masters. This are the fastets courts of the circuit.

Djoko has 1 USO, 4 WTF, 0 Cincy (5 finals), 3 Dubai, 2 Shangai and 2 Paris Masters.

Whereas in slow HC Djoko is unidispited with 5 AO to Fed’s 4; 4 IW to Fed’s 3 and 4 Miami fo Fed’s 2. Canada is medium and they are tied with 3 titles each I think.

Also Fed has overall more Slams on HC, 9 to 6 and more titles. Entering the fast part of the season and suddenly Federer become more competitive, win Halle, finals in Wimbledon and Title in Cincy. Expect him amd Murray to challenge Djoko.

But garee that Djoko with this next 9 days rest plus 1 day in between rest in USO will be the favorite over Fed and Andy. As some one said above, very few can challenge Novak.

Sirius Says:

“However, he was beaten by both murray and djokovic earlier this year on clay, and both times in the finals of a masters”

who is this “he”?

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Congratulations to Fed and Novak, and thanks Michael for the details on the match, as I couldn’t watch any tennis this weekend.

Well, that’s Cincy. But this article is about USO and it is absolutely DELUSIONAL to have Fed as favourite. Novak just beat Fed at Wimbledon. He is having a DOMINANT season: He is winning or making finals at EVERY big tourney for almost a year. Fed has ONE big tournament win- and his record of holding his own with Novak is, I must say, overrated. Novak has overwhelmingly won the important matches in the last year, save this one. When was the last time Fed made a USO final? HIs only Slam success for several years has been Wimbledon. I love Federer, but Cincinnati is not a Slam, 2 weeks of 5 set matches.

This is a fantastic win, and certainly validates his status as #2 over Murray, which seems to slip everyone here’s minds between tournaments when Fed is forgotten, but #2 is still 1 below #1.

OK, all that said, I’ll be rooting for Rog of course, and DO think he’s got a shot. Just… favourite? Ludicrous.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

As someone pointed out above, or in the other post, the continuing dominance of the Old Guard is astonishing. There are no challengers on the horizon for their spots.

madmax Says:

“He was trying, this week, something new,” the Serb said. “I have no comment about it.”

I think this is a VERY important statement by Novak. We know that Boris will be drilling Fed’s “new tactics” on VCR slow play; he will be analysing this to death.

By the time Fed comes to play the US Open, Boris will have drilled Novak on what to do in order to attack this “new tactic”.

It’s great. The Novak v Federer rivalry.

Love it!

madmax Says:

It does make me smile too, tennis X’ers!

Age and Roger.

Roger is the ONLY one growing old on the men’s tour!

When he played Wimbledon this year, Federer and Roddick had a conversation, but Roddick said this about Federer alluding to his age:

“Ha-ha! Andy Roddick’s in the house!” Federer said. The two men shook hands and hugged. In 2009, Federer and Roddick played a classic Wimbledon final. Federer won 16-14 in the fifth set. Three years later, Roddick retired. Federer, 33, is a year older than Roddick, who is working as a commentator for the BBC. Yet Federer—still impossibly light on his feet, still serving darts, still ranked No. 2 in the world—looks the same as he did then. Roddick laughed when asked how that made him feel.

“I learned a long time ago not to compare anything I do in life to Roger Federer,” Roddick said. “His best days are still just as good as they always were.”

Certainly, the way that Federer is playing right now; his age is an asset! Think about it.

Roger is incredibly smart when it comes to his schedule. We all know the main problem which faces any athlete above the age of 30, is to try and prevent any injury, as it is likely that any injury which they get, could be their last. This is factored in so carefully to Roger’s training blocks.

People realise that Roger is special and he means business! So, as long as Roger can avoid injury, he could easily play until he is 40 years old. Roger has a special ability, he will never really lose that, it will be the younger, fresher athletes, that one day, over take him more on a regular basis.

Long may Roger continue thrilling his fans.

Love him. And long may the rivalries of Fed v Rafa, Fed v Novak and Fed v Murray continue to inspire!

danica Says:

I stand corrected, my apologies. Andy won over Rafa in Madrid (even better!)

Ronny Says:

Thanks, VAGABOND, for keeping it real. Winning Cincinnati is great and all but the US Open is a whole other animal. Federer, the favorite to win the US? That’s simply ridiculous

madmax Says:


Agreed. How can federer be favourite for US Open?

Joint favourite: Novak and Murray

Dark Horse: Roger Federer

Ronny Says:

Yes, I remember it well, Wog Boy- Federer winning Shianghai last year, that is. The Federer fans were talking smack big time and saying that Federer would be back at #1 in the world no later than March but here we are, almost September already, and Federer is 6,000+- points behind Djoko and nowhere close to getting back to #1. Federer fans absolutely without a doubt have the shortest memories of all us other tennis fans combined…

Markus Says:

In spite of his loss, he remains the favorite (at least the way I see it) for the US Open. I will not put Murray in equal footing with Novak. As second favorite to win, that will be a more appropriate place for Murray, he and Mr. Federer.

Markus Says:

Too many pronouns in my first sentence. That “his/he” is, of course, Djokovic.

elina Says:

It is not simply that Roger won Cincy but how he won it that makes him a co-favourite (if not outright) for the US Open. Never broken and I think he only faced four break points the whole tournament, none against Murray and Djokovic. His ROS, footwork and movement were exemplary.

Only a magical performance from the eventual winner Cilic prevented Roger from winning the US Open last year and he is as good if not better than he was twelve months ago.

Federer is at his very best just like he says!

max Says:

This confirms what Andy Murray once said: on a fast surface NOBODY can beat Federer even at age 34.
Sadly, the ATP tour has mostly slow hard surfaces because people love to watch the exchange of 30+ balls per point like Djokovic-Nadal-Murray do when they play each other.

The one thing that surprises me is the rapid decline of performance affecting certain elite players losing in the 3rd round or QF at the most.
It is a meaningful coincidence that that decline in performance matches the fact that the ITF has in full effect since September 2014 the biological passport for tennis players.

madmax Says:


You are right. We always wax lyrical about Federer, but do you blame us?

He continues to achieve at the highest level and blows others, who are held in high esteem, out of the water – even when we least expect it. Sorry, I just speak for myself.

Fed’s confidence and consistency is the key.

Novak though, in my view, is still the man to beat in New York.

Of course Federer is not taking to take the No. 1 spot. Out of the question. He is still though the number 1 in my heart, and he still gives me goosebumps when he plays, and that has been for many years now.

elina Says:

Djokovic beat him twice at the World Tour Finals, in Paris and Dubai as well.

It is interesting that many in their early to mid-thirties are extending their careers or, in some cases, suddenly playing the best tennis in their careers.

I know mat4 has theories.

Perhaps tennis isn’t as physically demanding as it once was.

steve-o Says:


Thanks to the Internet making video of old matches widely available, it’s now possible to develop a data-driven approach to tennis. You can study opponents’ patterns of play, favorite shots, movements, etc. as well as your own and use that to develop a strategy. Murray, for instance, says he watches a lot of youtube clips of his opponents.

But in this kind of data crunching, there’s a danger of overanalyzing. In the end, each match is slightly different, and you have to go with the flow and be in the moment. You can easily paralyze and confuse yourself if the opponent does something a little different from how you envisioned it.

Federer said he thinks about tactics (he also has Lüthi do much of the scouting) but he doesn’t like to get too rigid with “85% of the time he hits kick serve to backhand, etc.”

Who knows, even if Djokovic prepares what he thinks is the best countermeasure to Federer’s rush-and-return–and who knows what the optimal counter would be until you try it?–Federer might do something different, the wind conditions might be different, the courts might be different, the balls might be different, Djokovic’s movement might be different.

And if you’re staking a Grand Slam title on that prearranged move which may or may not work, that’s a huge risk. You can’t be a slave to data.

Sure, if I were Becker I’d figure out a couple of ideas to try to handle Federer’s returning, but with the awareness that it’s just one shot among many that Federer could use.

Gypsy Gal Says:

Sienna sorry but it should be the other way around,in that Federer is the only player that can keep up with Djokovic….

Gypsy Gal Says:

To be fair Novak gave his all but looked spent in that final,i think it would be a different out come at the USO if they meet,i would be very shocked to see Roger beat Novak in best of 5 set matches these days,sorry Federer fans….

Markus Says:

Agree, Gypsy Gal, a 5-set match over a two week period is a bit long for a sustained high level of physical and mental tenacity. I think this is where age makes a difference in favor of the younger player. Roger played a spectacular first two sets then sputtered towards the end. I think that was his age showing in those last sets.

sienna Says:

its all about momentum.
This was not a cheaky victory Fed got over Djoker with break over and under.
this was big and decisive.
it will carry and Federer will build on it.

That is how its going down. Look at Murphy. He cant get to a fit Federer anymore. Federer has worked extremely hard for it to stay fit and hungry but he is very close now. Big momentum shift.
Novak has been pushing it to ride his wave while Federer has taken up the challenge and gone 1 better. Novak clearly not on terms with new Federer. He is laughing about his tactic claiming that US is better suited for him.

Those are all signs that he doesnot know how to beat him. He is hoping that he cant reach that level.

Federer has raised a question and they know it.

Gypsy Gal Says:

Thankyou Markus nice to know that some people do lol….

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Ronny, I think there are certainly Fed fans who gloat, as there are for every athlete, but I think I watch this blog pretty regularly, and I rarely see Fed fans predicting future glory. Of course it gives us glee when we see him beat the #1- because we all believe his glory days are long gone.


I expect crickets. We shall see.

jane Says:

daniel some of your numbers are wrong at 8:40
novak has 4 dubais (not 3).
novak has 3 paris titles (not 2).

Skeezer Says:

“Perhaps tennis isn’t as physically demanding as it once was”.
Really? Ask your Love Rafa.

Georgy Gal Says:

max it is meaningful only for you.

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