Cincinnati: Roger Federer’s hopes of adding to his record Grand Slam haul got a boost as he beat Spain’s David Ferrer 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 to win the Western and Southern Open title in Cincinnati on Sunday in the last key US Open tune-up event.
On the other hand, Serena Williams finished her last tune-up in style by blowing away Serbian Ana Ivanovic 6-4, 6-1 to win her first title.
“It’s just amazing to finally win here,” said Serena, who fired a dozen aces and broke her opponent four times. “The fans were amazing and it's so wonderful to be here.”
Meanwhile, it marked the sixth Cincinnati title for Federer and, coming off last week’s runner-up finish in Toronto, will give him plenty of confidence going into the year’s final Grand Slam.
“I thought the final was good. The whole tournament was really good for me,” Federer said. “I’ve been beating top 10 (players) along the way and just enjoying myself out on court, playing some positive tennis, so it’s really encouraging.”
Federer also qualified for a record 13th consecutive ATP World Tour Finals in comfortable fashion, in marked contrast to 2013 when he squeezed in the week before the end-of-season tournament in London.
The final result was good enough for him to become the third man to qualify for the eight-player event, behind Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, the world numbers one and two.
“It’s always one of the big goals I set myself at the beginning of the season,” Federer, a six-time Finals winner, said in a statement.
“It’s always an absolute honour being part of the best eight. Getting a chance to win an extra trophy at the end of the season — which is so prestigious, one of the biggest ones we have in the game and one I've done so well at - is a great feeling.”
Federer recorded the only break of the opening set for a 5-3 lead over his sixth seeded opponent and then did well to fight off four break points in the next game before wrapping up a tidy first set in 31 minutes.
But Ferrer quickly stole the match's momentum when he staved off four break points en route to prevailing in an 18-point game to open the second set.
Ferrer raced out to a 5-0 lead before Federer finally held serve but the 33-year-old Swiss was unable to avoid being pushed to a third set.
Federer found his groove in the decisive set, getting his second break of serve to open a 3-1 lead and then capping the match with yet another break to remain undefeated in 16 career meetings versus Ferrer.