The Swiss ended one of the most barren spells of his career in impressive fashion on Sunday, defeating the American Mardy Fish in a rugged three-set encounter in Cincinnati and, in so doing, recording his first ATP Tour title success in seven months.
It was Federer's 17th Masters title and, perhaps, one of the most timely, given one of the former world No 1's favourite Grand Slams, the US Open, begins in New York later this month. On this evidence, few would bet against Federer adding another major to his collection.
He has played far better than Sunday's rather scratchy performance against Fish, the home favourite, but his determination to win out in a war of attrition was an ominous statement of intent for the likes of Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray.
The lesson is clear: write off Federer at your peril.
In a match dominated by the serve, Federer secured the only break deep into the deciding set to clinch a 6-7, 7-6, 6-4 triumph in two hours and 40 minutes. The outcome means Federer will be in perfect shape to regain the crown at Flushing Meadows after his run of five successive titles was ended by Argentina's Juan Martin Del Potro in last year's final.
Fish can also take a great deal of confidence to New York after a wonderful week in which, after entering as a wild card, he saw off Murray and Andy Roddick en route to the final.
The American certainly held his own against Federer although the few opportunities which did arise fell the way of the former world No 1.
Federer held four break points in the first set – including one set point – but was unable to execute and he paid the price as Fish upped his game to clinch the tiebreak.
The second set followed a similar pattern of service dominance with both players struggling to gain any fluency on their returns.
Fish had the only break point which came and went. This time it was Federer who found the reserves to up the tempo in the breaker, clinching it for the loss of just one point to take the match all the way.
A third tiebreak loomed large only for Fish to lose concentration for a moment, allowing Federer a break point at 4-4 which he converted when the American netted a routine backhand.
Federer showed his opponent no mercy by serving it out with ease to claim his fourth title in Cincinnati.
"It was a perfect match for both of us," Federer said afterwards, "but only one can win it."
Fish, for his part, was equally magnanimous. "He's a true champion, the greatest of all time," he added.
Federer can go some way to proving that statement at Flushing Meadows.
Roger Federer’s three-set success in Cincinatti against Mardy Fish on Sunday puts him joint second on the list of all-time wins in ATP Masters Series events, with retired American Andre Agassi.
Rafael Nadal (Spain) 18
Roger Federer (Switzerland) 17
Andre Agassi (United States)17
Pete Sampras (United States) 11
Thomas Muster (Germany) 8
Michael Chang (United States) 7
Andy Murray (Great Britain) 5
Now that's the Roger Federer I know and love :) .
And once again all it took for the press to change their tune and suddenly consider him a contender for the U.S. Open was one convincing title win
( *shakes head* so predictable ).
Congratulations on a great tournament Roger, now go get some well deserved rest. See you in Flushing Meadows!.