Djokovic Cruises Past Federer To Win Cincinnati Title And Become First Man To Win All 9 Masters
by Sean Randall | August 19th, 2018, 7:26 pm

Novak Djokovic finally got through a Cincinnati final and he did so convincingly today downing his nemesis and 7-time tournament champion Roger Federer 6-4, 6-4 in a surprisingly one-sided final.

“Obviously it’s a very special moment to stand here for the first time with the winning trophy here in Cincinnati,” Djokovic said on court. “The hard times I went through, it’s been a rollercoaster ride in my career with injury, taking time off and having a surgery earlier this year. This seems a bit unreal to be back at this level.”

And it was a rollercoaster of a week. Djokovic had struggled all week having to come from behind to beat the likes of Grigor Dimitrov, Adrian Mannarino and Milos Raonic, going three with Marin Cilic and in the first round he needed nine match points to put away Steve Johnson.

But today, it was vintage Djokovic who got his serve going (won 78% of second serve points losing just four pts!!), his movement was on point and his lethal return game was especially deadly.

Federer had held 97 straight times in Cincinnati entering the final, but in the very first game you could sense things would be different. Djokovic missed two break point chances but the message was sent. The Serb was bringing his “A” game today.

Serving 3-all a double fault and an error gave Djokovic the break as the chair ump dropped a verbal obscenity warning on Federer whose serving games held streak at the event was snapped at an even 100.

Djokovic hit three aces then coolly served out the first at 5-4. it was his first set win against the Swiss in the Cincinnati final and it wouldn’t be his last.

In the second, Federer finally drew blood thanks to a Djokovic double fault to go up 2-0. His hope was shortlived as Novak broke right back then broke Federer for a second time at 3-all after another Federer double fault set up a break point.

With history on the line, Djokovic didn’t flinch.

The win makes Djokovic the first player to collect all nine Masters titles. And that’s to go along with his Career Grand Slam, Djokovic Slam (winning 4 straight) and his Davis Cup title. About the only thing he’s still missing is Olympic gold. Quite a resume.

He now has 70 career titles and 31 at the Masters level, just two behind Nadal.

The victory also makes him the rock-solid favorite at the US Open. You beat Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon, then Federer in the Cincinnati final, you are doing a lot of things right.

I’m still not 100% on board with the “Novak’s back” case – he just had so many bad patches all week and his second serve was a mess – but all signs are going the proper direction. He’s won 15 of his last 16, won two of the three biggest summer titles (should have also won Queen’s) and beaten his rivals.

As for Federer, he is 37 and after all the rain and having to win four matches in three days was a big ask. He had poor serving day (just 58% of first serves went in and he won less than 50% of second serve points), misfired on 39 unforced errors, had a tough day at the net and his return was way off, “shockingly bad” I think someone said on ESPN. Of course some of that, or a lot of that, can be attributed to Novak.

“It was definitely not my best day on the return,” said Federer who was 7-0 in the Cincinnati final. “That’s it. It was just awful. But it’s okay. He served well. But missing every second serve on the forehand side, I don’t know what that was about. I don’t even want to look for reasons why it happened. I just think it did. Novak totally deserved to win today. This was not good enough. It’s okay. Good week, but I’m happy it’s over and I need to rest. So it’s all good.”

I thought based on Roger’s level of play, Novak’s play and their history on this court and in this final, it would go Roger’s way. But credit to Djokovic for playing his best match of the summer when he needed to the most.

Federer will be back and my guess is we’ll see both of these guys going at it more finals down the road. Heck, maybe they’ll be playing exactly three weeks from today! That would be something, wouldn’t it?

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23 Comments for Djokovic Cruises Past Federer To Win Cincinnati Title And Become First Man To Win All 9 Masters

Rick Says:

If Djokovic wasn’t injury. Federline wouldn’t win Wimbledon or Australian Open these two years.

Rick Says:

Everyone were injured at Wimbledon last year. And Aussie Open is Nole’s favourite slam. This year tells you that, if Rooferer stayed indoor to avoid playing Roland Garros. It doesn’t mean that when he returns,he could wins another slam.

Rick Says:

Rooferer was beaten three times since his return. And was beaten at Indian Wells and Miami.

Rick Says:

If Goffin wasn’t injured. Not sure if Rooferer could gets to the final here. Rooferer was beaten by Gordon at YEC last year.

Rick Says:

Goffin gave a free ticket to Rooferer for the final. I don’t expect Rooferer to do better at the US. Since he has to plays in best of 5 sets. And was beaten by Nole 4 times in the majors. Not only that, can Rooferer beat Del Porto if he runs into again at the US?

BBB Says:

“I’m still not 100% on board with the “Novak’s back” case – he just had so many bad patches all week and his second serve was a mess”

Agreed. And he won anyway. Scratching out wins when you’re playing not-so-well is the biggest confidence boost of all.

chofer Says:

I’m tortally on board with Novack’s back to his bet when facing Fedal. I’m totally sure Fedal’s insecurities show up more frencuently when facing him.

It’s a doble-whammy.

I’m totally on board Novack’s will have somt bad losses until he re-enters the “impenetrable mode” of yore. This affirmation is on the hinge. It’s more of a question not asked yet.

But the draw of the USOpen will tell us more.

Two I wouldn’t want to face til the latter stages: him and Stan, who’s recovering quickly and play splendid the first two sets against Federer and against Nadal in Toronto.

chofer Says:

I meant best and Novak, sure.

Truth Says:

Fed thought the Novak emotional probs in Toronto was normal.

Truth Says:

* were normal

FedExpress Says:

Yeah Rick sure. You can forsee the past it seems.

Nole played in all the GS which Fed won. And wasnt good enough. Deal with it.

We can also play the game the other way around.

Madmax Says:

Oh God, poor Rick is back. Talking to himself for the first 6 posts. Then someone took pity on him.


As for Federer, he is 37 and after all the rain and having to win four matches in three days was a big ask. He had poor serving day (just 58% of first serves went in and he won less than 50% of second serve points), misfired on 39 unforced errors, had a tough day at the net and his return was way off, “shockingly bad” I think someone said on ESPN. Of course some of that, or a lot of that, can be attributed to Novak.

You say 4 matches in three days was a big ask, yet you said he would do it in two. I knew that he had to fight for this from Novak, and had a good feeling that Novak would win this.

Remember, the amount of matches he has played and the score was not so bad. This defeat has passed now and he will move on and do his best at the USO but i think it is a big ask for him to be the favourite. It has to be Novak whose turn it is on the comeback trail…

Milos Says:

I watched the match and it was really really close. Not much separating these two yesterday and it could have gone either way.

Truth Says:

Novak hardly tried to win in the previous Cincinnati finals vs. Fed. He had 6 games in one match. Fed got beaten by a more stubborn and thoughtful server who didn’t tank anymore Cincinnati matches. He also didn’t lose interest because the ball bounced too low and skidded. He didn’t go away by himself because of depression & anger in the final.

If yesterday, Novak was age 27-29, he would’ve given up, rarely broken serve, and served badly. Now that he is thinking about serving better, he breaks serve more easily.

skeezer Says:

Lost 78% of games returned, on Novaks second serve! Wtf? 39 unforced errors and 3 double faults.
Horrible day.

skeezer Says:

^welcome to old age. It happens.

skeezer Says:

As predicted, Fed did not win this match. Yes he served great here(he usually does), but he had really not too much other game to offer. Returns were non existent, FH shanks and misses were back, and slicing his bh vs hitting out went back to 2015. Ominous looking for USO.
Said in other thread that Novak has now cemented his legacy with the all time greats. Holder of all 4 Slams and all 9 Masters, the record books will show. Amazing accomplishment, congrats Novak.

BBB Says:

skeezer, Chris Evert said the problem with age is that your bad days are really bad, and you have them more often than you used to.

He didn’t play all that well against Stan and was unusually irritable. I imagine that Djoker getting into his first service game was disturbing because he knew he’d have to have a great day on serve to win. And that put pressure on everything else.

Anyway, his first tournament back. He made it to the final. Good prep for the USO.

Madmax Says:

Federer “struggled to move” during his Cincinnati Masters final last night, says Novak Djokovic. “Roger wasn’t obviously at his best,” Djokovic said. “He missed a lot of returns. He had also seems like a difficult time to move.

“He was not really playing as well as he did in previous matches this week, but at the same time I thought I was solid.

Novak could see that his chances were huge in winning this match and only Roger knows the real reason. He did though play, a lot of matches in a short space of time, with hardly any time for recovery., and this is why the slams are able to give Roger the time to recover. He can’t return from that place. the way he used to, when it would almost be a given he would go on to win, so I think we need to give the guy a break. It was only one break of serve for both sets, even so, he did play horribly and having watched the match again, Roger was tentative, he was nervous and he was too much on the defensive. Usually, he goes all in for the attack. He didn’t move so well, and it really showed yesterday.

No matter.


That was a really nice post above, I echo that and want to add this, Novak’s words when he lifted the trophy. Have to smile at what Novak said. Cheeky boy!

“I lost to this great man, most of the finals. ‘Thank you for letting me win once here in Cincinnati!’

Novak continues to be the most gracious player, win or lose.

Daniel Says:

Agree, its gina be harder for Fed to win Masters, he will need to cruise in first 3-4 rounds to be fit as possible in finals. The format of 5 straight days (if he has a Wednesday start is bad for him). That’s why he made the finals of last 2 IW editions, because he only played back to back matches last 2 or 3 rounds depending on draw.

Slams also gives him the days rest and we see him way more competitive in long matches.Even the Anderson match this Wimbledon he didn’t look spent nor vs Cilic in AO.

I think uSO will be different, he will have some easy rounds to fine tune his game and we have to look at draws. Where Djoko will land (if Fedal will draw him QF) and for Fed where DelPo will land. If DelPo is fit of course.

But looking at the ranking, who ever of top 4 who got Dimitrov will get the easier QF (as there isa big chance he didn’t even reach that far). The others are Anderson, Djoko and Cilic, all dangerous and playing well last 52 weeks, with some serious chances to make finals.

RZ Says:

Phenomenal achievement by Djokovic and a continued amazing comeback!

Truth Says:

He has to enjoy his good work. However, Djoker doesn’t “adore” matches that are shorter than 3 sets vs. Fedal. Yet he complains when he loses 3 setters vs. 21 year olds or lazily returns forehands to go down 1 set and 1 break vs. Non-Slam winners.
Stop being a charitable gentleman that plays 5 setters when those should be 3 setters, while at the same time, telling the reporters that it’s better or possible to win much more in a 3 set Slam format.

Mystic - Willow Says:

The most condescending cliche on TX, has to be when posters say, couldve gone either way, great tennis, tight match, not much consolation when ones favorite lost ….

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