I wanted to sneak into the US Open without writing anything. Truth be told I am still not feeling it when it comes to tennis so the writing doesn’t flow naturally these days. Hence no Cincy posts from me. But suddenly the US Open is upon me and I realize that I should at least write a paragraph on that amazing Cincy week before we head into the eerie US Open with its strange time zones (for me).
Cincy demands a paragraph because it was sheer perfection from start to finish. The last time Roger Federer had such a fantastic week without a single flaw was also at Cincy, 3 years ago. Just like in 2012, this year too Roger won every single match without getting broken or dropping a set. In fact, he didn’t drop his serve at all in the entire tournament and only faced 3 break points in one game. Also like in 2012, he met Novak in the final yet again and produced the same result by defeating the Serb in straight sets. Except this time he looked extra resplendent in his raspberry henley – I do believe this is my favorite kit of the year!
This title was fantastic for many reasons. After the heartbreaking Wimbledon loss, this was Roger’s first tournament back so it was a great way to get back on tour. It was a comprehensive title defense and now he has won Cincy back to back for the second time. This title was his 7th Cincy title and 87th career title. It also pushed his H2H with Novak back at a positive 21-20 after it had become even at Wimbledon.
This was also the first time he defeated the #1 and #2 ranked players back to back – but of course this is because he himself was either a #1 or #2 ranked player for a very long time. This title was his record 59th hardcourt title, a record 18th hardcourt Masters title and a record 66th outdoor title. He is now tied with Djokovic for second-most Masters titles; both have 24 each. This title gave Roger back his #2 ranking after he had lost it the previous week to Murray when he skipped the Rogers Cup in Montreal. As such Roger is now seeded #2 at the US Open.
But more than all the records, what stood out the most was his enthusiasm and energy. The other players all looked a bit worse for wear, playing back to back Masters tournaments. Whereas Roger’s gamble of skipping the Rogers Cup really paid off. He looked fresh, his movement was sublime and from the stats I saw in each match, he always ran more than his opponent and yes that includes the matches against Andy and Novak as well. Yet again, he proved to be insightful about his scheduling and listening to his body well.
Last but not the least, this delightful week gave us one more gift, ‘The Sabr’! – or ‘The Federer’ if you choose. And in case you were wondering, ‘Sabr’ stands for Sneaky Attack By Roger! 😉 At the age of 34, the man is still creating and inventing new shots to add to his already massive repertoire. He started attacking second serves with a half-volley as a joke in practice and realized maybe he could do it in matches too. The quick conditions at Cincy proved to be the perfect arena to practice this new shot so why not try it out, right? It took all of his opponents by surprise and made us all squeal with glee! I am not sure if we will see it make an appearance at the US Open because the surface is slower but you can be sure we and his opponents will all be on the look-out for it 🙂 Here’s a wonderful collection of them from Cincy.
Well there you go, my quick summary of Cincy and the wonderful week that it was. Right after he won, he uncharacteristically headed over to the players box and had a very cute exchange with his daughters which you can see here and here are Roger’s post win reflections. Roger is kicking off the US Open looking very strong but of course the last Major of the year is a whole other beast and has caused plenty of traumatic memories for all of us in recent years. One match at a time is the way to go. We shall see. Fingers crossed! Good luck in New York Maestro!
***Photos are Getty Images from Zimbio.com***