Thursday, August 30, 2018

Roger Federer sets up blockbuster with Nick Kyrgios at U.S. Open

Roger Federer Tumblr

Two months ago, Roger Federer had one foot out the door in the second round of the Gerry Weber Open. Staring down the barrel of two match points against Benoit Paire, he would need a moment of magic to overcome the charismatic Frenchman in a deciding tie-break.

There was no such drama on Thursday at the US Open, as the pair met once again with plenty at stake. Federer scored a 7-5, 6-4, 6-4 win to book his spot in the third round and set a blockbuster battle against Nick Kyrgios on Saturday.

"I think it was a bit sort of up and down," said Federer. "I think it's always tricky against Benoit, because there's a lot of tactics going on. Never quite the same point. Sometimes he plays very deep in the court, then he plays up in the court. That's maybe why you draw errors out of each other rather than winners at the end. The match maybe doesn't look at good. Plus he covers the court very well. Sometimes you have a tendency to overplay, as well. But overall I'm happy. I think it was not a bad performance by any means by me. I can be pleased, so it's all good."

It was far from routine, but the second seed used his experience and guile to secure the win, benefitting from 47 unforced errors by Paire, while striking 27 winners of his own. He converted five of nine break chances.

A decade removed from his last title in New York, the five-time champion (2004-08) avoided his earliest exit in 18 visits to Flushing Meadows. He prevailed after one hour and 56 minutes, notching his 35th match win of 2018.

Federer and Kyrgios will meet for the fourth time in their budding FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry, with the Swiss claiming the two most recent encounters - on the hard courts of Miami last year and on the grass of Stuttgart this year. All three of their meetings have resulted in third-set tie-breaks. In fact, eight of the nine sets played were decided by tie-breaks.

It wasn't a bad performance, but not great by his own standards either (and I'm sure he knows that). 

His 1st serve percentage was way below the norm and he'll have to do a lot better in that department in the next match.  

And definitely not get broken because he's been lucky thus far with being broken while having a double breaks advantage. 

Something tells me that won't be the case when he plays Kyrgios.  

Than again I guess that all depends on which Kyrgios shows up to play. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Roger Federer dazzles in 1st round match at U.S. Open

Roger Federer Tumblr tag

Ten years ago, Roger Federer completed a dominant reign at Flushing Meadows, lifting his fifth consecutive US Open trophy in 2008. And while he hasn’t entered the New York winners’ circle since, the Swiss showed on Tuesday evening that he could have another championship run in him a decade later.

Federer cruised by Japanese Yoshihito Nishioka 6-2, 6-2, 6-4, remaining undefeated in opening-round matches at the year’s final Grand Slam (18-0). If the Swiss claims his sixth victory in New York, he will become the winningest and oldest US Open champion in the Open Era. It would also give him 99-tour-level titles in his career, only trailing Jimmy Connors, who owns 109.

Federer has not lost in the first round of a major since 2003 Roland Garros, a stretch of 58 Slam appearances. Fifty-three of those first-match victories have come in straight sets. He clinched the triumph when Nishioka hit a return long after one hour, 52 minutes.

The 37-year-old is fresh off an appearance in the Western & Southern Open final, where he fell just short of picking up his eighth trophy at the event, losing to Novak Djokovic. Federer has won three titles this year, earning his 20th Grand Slam championship at the Australian Open and prevailing in Rotterdam and Stuttgart.

Federer next faces Benoit Paire, against whom he has won all six of his FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings. There will be intrigue, though, as Paire held two match points against Federer in Halle this year. The Frenchman beat Austrian Dennis Novak 7-6(6), 3-6, 7-5, 7-6(5) in three hours and five minutes.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Roger Federer: Winning the U.S. Open 'Would Mean the World to Me'

A decade ago, Roger Federer was the King of Queens. The Swiss finished a run of five consecutive titles at the US Open, never dropping more than three sets total during any of those runs.

But since claiming that fifth trophy in Flushing Meadows in 2008, Federer has not triumphed here again. He now has his sights set on one thing: winning again.

“It would mean the world to me,” Federer said. “It's even a bigger priority this year, the US Open, than it has been last year. Not that it wasn't last year, but Wimbledon was key for me last year.”

Federer won at SW19 last season. But even after gaining momentum by reaching the 2017 final in Montreal, Federer fell short in the quarter-finals of the US Open against Juan Martin del Potro. A sixth championship victory in New York was not to be.

“Not feeling 100 per cent last year was hard. I knew from the get-go it was not going to be possible for me to win. Everything would have had to fall into place,” Federer said. “Guys would have had to retire against me or played the worst match of their life against me, and maybe then I would have had a chance. But [in the] later stages of a tournament, it’s not feasible anymore.”

Federer reached the final at last week's Western & Southern Open, where the seven-time champion competed in his first tournament since Wimbledon. He opted not to play in Toronto, and the Swiss found enough of a rhythm to reach his eighth final in Cincinnati. But he couldn’t get past Novak Djokovic, who completed the Career Golden Masters, in the final.

“I think what I did was the right thing. I truly believe it. I think I was not even close playing my absolute best in Cincinnati and still making a final is still a really good result,” Federer said. “The final was not good. I was not happy with how I played, but I think there was some tiredness that led into that. And Novak was good. So it was just a match, one you want to forget, no problem. But in the big scheme of things it actually was a good tournament for me, get all the matches under the belt, get match tough again so when I do show up here I actually feel I'm ready, and I am ready, and that's what counts for me.”

Federer won 41 consecutive matches at the US Open starting from the launch of his 2004 campaign through the 2009 final, in which he had a two sets to one lead against Del Potro before succumbing.

“I just got on a roll, I guess… For a long period I think I was not losing much, and when I came to the Open, I had all the answers for all the guys, all my opponents, all conditions, wind, night, day. I really embraced everything about New York,” Federer said. “I think that's why I rarely had bad tournaments here in New York, because I like playing here. I think the court speed is good for me. I'm happy in this country. I'm happy in New York… my personal experience with the five in a row was an unbelievable one. So I'm very proud of that accomplishment.”

Now, Federer will hope to create new memories. He begins his tournament against Japanese Yoshihito Nishioka.

“I'm really excited and happy to be back here healthy again and feeling good,” Federer said. “I’ll take it one match at a time and see what happens.”

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Roger Federer gets the toughest draw at U.S. Open as usual

Perhaps the biggest question of the 2018 US Open draw was a simple one: Where would sixth seed Novak Djokovic, fresh off achieving the Career Golden Masters, land? Now we know.

The Western & Southern Open champion is in Roger Federer's quarter and could again face the five-time US Open champion, his opponent from the Cincinnati final, in the last eight.

Djokovic and Federer have not met before the semi-finals of any tournament since 2007 Dubai, with the exception being round-robin play at the Nitto ATP Finals. The pair have contested 42 FedEx ATP Head2Head matches since then, including 18 for championships. In the Western & Southern Open final, when Djokovic became the first player to win all nine ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles, the Serbian took a 24-22 lead in their epic rivalry.

But first, the superstars will be focused on what’s directly in front of them: two first-time opponents. Federer will face Japanese Yoshihito Nishioka in the first round, and Djokovic will play Hungarian Marton Fucsovics. Federer could face No. 30 seed Nick Kyrgios in a third-round blockbuster.

Top seed and defending champion Rafael Nadal will begin his title defence against a familiar foe in former World No. 3 David Ferrer. The World No. 1 leads his fellow Spaniard 24-6 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry. But in their only previous meeting at the US Open, in 2007, Ferrer triumphed in four sets. Fifth seed and 2017 finalist Kevin Anderson and ninth seed Dominic Thiem are also in Nadal’s quarter.

A lot of eyes will be on the Spaniard’s opener, but there might be even more on a clash between reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion Grigor Dimitrov and 2016 US Open winner Stan Wawrinka. Not only have both players been inside the Top 5 of the ATP Rankings within the past year, but they also met in their Wimbledon opener, with Wawrinka — on the comeback from two left knee surgeries last year — pulling the upset. The winner will face a qualifier in the second round.

The Bulgarian and Swiss are in third seed Juan Martin del Potro’s quarter. The 2009 winner, who is at a career-best World No. 3, will begin his tournament against a qualifier, but could face former World No. 1 and 2012 titlist Andy Murray in the third round. The Scot will play Aussie James Duckworth in his opener.

The earliest third seed Alexander Zverev could face another seed will be in the third round against 32nd seed Filip Krajinovic. The 21-year-old Zverev will face a qualifier before playing against Czech Jiri Vesely or #NextGenATP Frenchman Corentin Moutet.

Zverev’s quarter-final opponent is projected to be 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic, who confronts Romanian Marius Copil before facing Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas or a qualifier. Cilic could face No. 29 seed Adrian Mannarino, or #NextGenATP players Frances Tiafoe or Alex de Minaur in the third round.

Of the #NextGenATP, the only two seeded players from that 21-and-under group — No. 15 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and No. 28 seed Denis Shapovalov — both begin their campaigns against qualifiers.

As usual Roger gets the short end of the stick when it comes to the draw while Nadal gets the easiest. 

I honestly can't remember the last time Roger got a favorable draw at the U.S. Open. 

I would say Novak's path is somewhere in the middle not too tough but not too easy either. 

Who knows how he'll do. 

I still think the only reason Djokovic won Cincy is because Roger played horribly especially on returns, so I'm not so convinced Djokovic is one of the top faves. 

I would sooner put Del Potro above Djoker.  

This could be a year of surprises, perhaps much like Wimbledon many of the top faves will go out early. 

Seems to be that kind of year.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Roger Federer will be looking red hot in new Uniqlo outfit for the U.S. Open

Roger Federer will wear a full red outfit at this year's US Open from 27 August to 9 September 2018. It will be just the second Grand Slam title that the 37-year-old Swiss plays wearing Uniqlo, and he will wear a red bandana, as well as shirt and shorts. 

Federer is supposed to keep wearing Nike shoes, as he hasn't reached a deal with the American brand or any other shoe producer (Uniqlo is excluded) yet. Like always, the pre-Major week will be a busy one for the world No. 2 who will attend a Uniqlo event on Wednesday August 22 from 5:00 to 5:30 PM at the Uniqlo 5th Ave Store in New York. Some fans can get a very nice surprise, as the the first 150 customers in line at UNIQLO 5th AVE at 10AM ET on August 22 will get a ticket to attend the event with Roger later, at 5:00 PM.

Through Facebook, the Japanese brand, presenting the initiative, wrote:

'20 grand slam wins. Two Olympic medals. Six ATP World Tour Finals titles. 29 Guinness World Records. The number one tennis player in the world for 310 straight weeks. UNIQLO proudly acknowledges Roger Federer’s many career achievements, but as our new Global Brand Ambassador, we believe his best is yet to come.'

Federer will also hold a Q&A session answering the questions submitted by fans online until yesterday, Sunday. Federer will seek his sixth title at New York's Flushing Meadows, he last triumphed there in 2008 beating Andy Murray in the final. 2009 final loss to Juan Martin del Potro ended Roger's five consecutive titles streak.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Roger Federer full of praise for Djokovic winning Cincinnati despite falling short himself

Roger Federer fell in a championship match at the Western & Southern Open for the first time on Sunday, losing to former World No. 1 Novak Djokovic. But instead of looking at his own performance after the match, he was full of praise for Djokovic, who completed the Career Golden Masters.

“He's a great champion and this is what this should be about, this press conference, not about me missing second-serve returns. It's about him making history,” Federer said. “We can go into whatever points you want, but I think that's what the headline should be about. This is an amazing accomplishment, and I hope he's extremely proud and extremely happy about this moment.”

Federer knows just how difficult it is to win at this level, claiming 27 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles in his career. World No. 1 Rafael Nadal (33), Djokovic (31) and Federer (27) are the only players to capture more than 20 since the series was created in 1990. Djokovic is the first player to triumph at all nine Masters 1000 events.

“All these records that a player creates, at the end you're going to all judge it all together, bundle it up and say, ‘Okay, what was the coolest thing you ever did?'” Federer said. “This might be it for Novak besides winning all the Slams and all the other things he's done already.”

Every match at this level is tough. Case in point: all six of Djokovic’s opponents this week were inside the Top 33 of the ATP Rankings. Four of the five — Grigor Dimitrov, Milos Raonic, Marin Cilic and Federer — have cracked the Top 3 in their career. Now imagine doing something similar at nine different events to collect a total haul of 31 trophies like Djokovic has.

“I think it's extremely difficult to win a Masters 1000. These tournaments don't come easy. You saw my performance today. It's just a long week. It's tough, grueling. The best players are playing. You play against tough guys early on in the draw, so you don't have much time to find your rhythm and actually almost work on your game throughout the week,” Federer said. “He's done that maybe better than anybody. So it's a great credit to him. I think it's an amazing accomplishment.”

It wasn't a bad week for Federer, either. He fell short on Sunday, but it was the World No. 2’s sixth final from eight tour-level events in 2018. The Swiss is now 33-5 on the season, and will set his sights on the US Open, which he has won five times.

“I’ve just got to come up with a lot of energy, and then hopefully I also have a chance after 10 years to do something special again at the Open,” Federer said. “I still think this US Open draw, as well, is going to be quite entertaining, and I can't wait for the US Open to come around.”

But for now, it’s Djokovic’s moment. Federer could sit and nitpick why he was only able to win 47 per cent of second-serve points, why he was broken three times after putting together a streak of 100 consecutive holds in Cincinnati, or why the Serbian was able to win 78 per cent of second-serve points. But he won’t.

“I don't even want to look for reasons why it happened. I just think it did,” Federer said. “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'm glad he's happy for Novak it's who Roger is. I on the other hand choose to be sad for this loss.

I think the back to back matches took a lot out of him, and I'm glad he has a week off to rest now.

I think he'll reset and be ready for the U.S. Open.

I'm glad he's planning for something special in NYC, I'm so ready for it myself after this disappointment.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Roger Federer into his 8th Cincinnati final will battle Djokovic after Goffin retired

He's been the king of the 'Queen City' for more than a decade, and now Roger Federer is one win from reclaiming his Cincinnati throne.

Federer booked a blockbuster championship clash against Novak Djokovic after defeating David Goffin on Saturday at the Western & Southern Open. He moved past the Belgian when his opponent retired due to a shoulder injury at 7-6(3), 1-1.

Facing Goffin for the first time since suffering a semi-final loss at last year's Nitto ATP Finals, Federer restored order in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, which now stands at 7-1. Goffin stopped play after 63 minutes, while serving at 1-1 40/30 in the second set.

Most Finals Reached At A Single Masters 1000

Player No. of Finals Tournament
Rafael Nadal 12 Monte-Carlo
Rafael Nadal 10
Roger Federer 8 Cincinnati
Roger Federer 8 Indian Wells
Andre Agassi 8 Miami
Novak Djokovic 8 Rome
Rafael Nadal       8 Madrid

Federer extended a slew of Cincy streaks with the victory. He has now held serve in 96 consecutive service games and owns 14 straight match wins at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event. Moreover, the Swiss has claimed 17 of his last 18 sets played.

"I just think in general here in Cincinnati you've got to win the big points," said Federer. "There are not that many opportunities, especially if you protect your serve well. Everything goes very quickly. You can't play the rallies like you normally would like to. You're playing very reactive on the return and active on your own serve. Of course it helps when you win that first-set tie-break, because it's an emotional boost, as well, besides getting extra confidence.

"So I was just happy how I was able to lift my game up throughout the set, and then also in the breaker, I played a good breaker, so I was actually very happy."

Few players have enjoyed the run of dominance that Federer has in Cincinnati. He enters the championship with a 7-0 record in finals. It marks the second Masters 1000 tournament in which he has reached eight title matches, along with the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

As he did in Friday's quarter-final against Wawrinka, Federer got off to a slow start against Goffin. Competing in his first tournament in a month, he struggled to find his footwork and rhythm throughout the first set. But the World No. 2 found his top level when he needed it most. With Goffin serving at 5-6, he earned a trio of set points behind three blasted forehand winners. The Belgian would hold, but Federer rode the momentum into the ensuing tie-break, taking the opener after just under one hour. Goffin received a medical timeout between sets, for treatment on his right shoulder, before eventually pulling the cord two games later.

"It didn't make sense to continue," said Goffin. "I was serving 100 miles per hour first serve and I felt my arm and my shoulder. After I lost the first set, I had to serve two more sets to win the match, so it didn't make sense to continue.

"But overall I was feeling great. I was moving well. I was feeling my forehand really well. So on the baseline I was feeling good. It was a different kind of serve because I was serving differently because of the speed of my ball, and it would have been tough to win."

Federer advances to his 150th tour-level final, moving to within eight of Jimmy Connors' Open Era record. He has reached six title matches this year, having triumphed at the Australian Open and in Rotterdam and Stuttgart, while finishing runner-up in Indian Wells and Halle.

On Sunday, Federer will renew his riveting rivalry with Djokovic, clashing for a 46th time. The Serbian leads the FedEx ATP Head2Head series 23-22 and has claimed the previous two encounters, at the 2015 Nitto ATP Finals and 2016 Australian Open. But Federer will be bolstered by a perfect mark in Cincinnati finals against his longtime rival. They have met every three years in the title match, with the second seed not dropping a set in lifting the trophy in 2009, 2012 and 2015. Will the streak extend to 2018?

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Roger Federer holds off a resurgent Stan Wawrinka to reach Cincinnati Open semis

Roger Federer advanced to his eighth Western & Southern Open semi-final on Friday, performing double duty and maintaining his dominance against countryman Stan Wawrinka in the quarter-finals 6-7(2), 7-6(8), 6-2.

The second seed improved to 21-3, including 16-0 on hard courts, in his FedEx ATP Head2Head series against Wawrinka, who continued to show positive steps in his comeback from two knee surgeries one year ago.

Wawrinka was two points away from the semi-finals in the second set, at 6/6 in the tie-break, as he hadn't conceded anything to Federer, playing steady from the baseline and not overhitting against the second seed. But, in the tie-break, Wawrinka went for broke and came up empty, blasting a backhand wide on Federer's third set point.

Lightning briefly suspended the match after the second set, but when they resumed, it was all Federer. He broke for the first time in the match on his eighth opportunity to lead 4-2, and a break to love sealed the quarter-final just before midnight Eastern Time.

For Wawrinka, however, his quarter-final run in Cincinnati marks back-to-back positive weeks at ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events. Last week, at the Rogers Cup in Toronto, he beat Aussie Nick Kyrgios, Marton Fucsovics of Hungary before falling to Rafael Nadal in the third round.

“For sure it was a great level. I think I'm playing great in general. I'm playing better every day, every week. Last week was really important and really good for myself, for my tennis, for my confidence…. I'm happy to see where I am right now. I had a tough match last week against Rafa. Close match, also. Today was against Roger. They are No. 1 and No. 2 in the world. I beat Schwartzman, I beat Nishikori, so the level is good,” Wawrinka said.

“I need to keep improving, keep working, keep doing the right thing and keep pushing myself. For sure tonight I'm sad and disappointed to lose, but for me it's a big victory for myself after what I had last year. It was exactly one year ago. To see where I was also few weeks ago, I'm really happy to be here.”

Both players were performing double duty. Federer beat Leonardo Mayer of Argentina in straight sets earlier Friday, and Wawrinka knocked out Hungary's Marton Fucsovics.

The seven-time champion will next meet Belgian David Goffin, who beat Juan Martin del Potro 7-6(5), 7-6(4). Goffin won their last matchup in the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals semi-finals, but Federer leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 6-1.

What a crazy match this was, honestly didn't think Fed would win it.  

For 2 sets Stan was solid and didn't give in saving all the break points against him.  

It came down to a couple of points in the 2nd set tie-break, but it could have gone either way.  

Roger got lucky, this was way too close for comfort!.   

Stan is definitely going to be a nightmare for anyone at the U.S. Open if he continues playing like this. 

I won't make any predictions on Goffin next, because who the heck knows.  

I don't think that one will be easy for Roger either (though I hope I'm wrong).

Simona Halep into another final this time in Cincinnati

CINCINNATI, OH, USA - World No.1 Simona Halep is into her second final in as many weeks after taking down Aryna Sabalenka in straight sets at the Western & Southern Open.

After lifting the Coupe Rogers trophy last week in Montreal, Halep will compete in another championship match - her sixth final of the year - as she faces Kiki Bertens tomorrow for the Cincinnati title.

She was pitted against the on-fire Belarusian Sabalenka - who took down three Top 20 players on her way to the semifinals. But Sabalenka’s three-set heroics left her flat-footed against the top seed; Sabalenka came into the match with over eight hours of tennis under her belt this week, while Halep had played less than five.

As a result the 20-year-old struggled to keep pace with Halep, and the Romanian sealed her 450th career win in emphatic style, needing an hour and 15 minutes to notch the 6-3, 6-4 victory.

“It was a big challenge for me to have an opponent that is so young and winning so good matches and tough matches before with confidence very high,” Halep said in press. “It was a big challenge. And today when I stepped on the court, I said that I have just to relax and to play my game, which I did.

“I did actually exactly how I felt on court I could do that. That's why maybe I was able to win. And also mentally I was strong"

.World No.1 Simona Halep is into her second final in as many weeks after taking down Aryna Sabalenka in straight sets at the Western & Southern Open.

Sabalenka wasn’t broken at all in her match against Keys, but she fell behind early as the World No.1 opened with a break at 2-1. She employed her aggressive game to earn the break straight back, but her efforts were undone in the next game as Halep broke through once again, at 3-2.

Halep stayed steady against Sabalenka’s firepower and returned every ball with interest, breaking once more to seal the opening set.

She got ahead early once more in the second set, but Sabalenka leveled straight back at 3-2 to keep them on serve. Halep had to fight off three break points as Sabalenka found a second gear at 4-4, but she held firm to put herself within one game of the final.

The Romanian kept Sabalenka under pressure in every point, and a handful of errors off Sabalenka’s racquet gave Halep her first match point. An ace bailed Sabalenka out of trouble, but it wasn’t enough to stem Halep’s momentum, and she sealed the match on the second time of asking.

Afterwards, 20-year-old Sabalenka looked to find positives from the match - and highlighted her incredible week of tennis in Cincinnati.

“I know I was too nervous in the match,” Sabalenka admitted. “Next time I just want to try to be more calm on the court. I was trying to go for my shots and everything was coming back. I was, like, ‘Why she take everything?’ I was trying to go more harder and harder.

“I won a lot of good players, and I show great tennis. It's bad that not today, but I'm going to try to keep my level and actually to keep trying to be much better on the court. And, well, it was a fantastic week for me.”

Halep, who made the final here in 2015 and 2017, will take on Bertens in tomorrow’s championship match as she seeks to add the Cincinnati trophy - what would be her 19th career title - to her impressive haul. Halep leads Bertens 3-1 in the pair’s head-to-head record, with their last match coming last year at Rome.

“We played many times, as I remember,” Halep said. “I know she hits flat. She hits very low balls. She's serving well. So I will try just to keep the attention on myself and to do my game.

“I will move well, I hope, and I will be strong on the legs. I think this is the main reason, every match, the main thing".

Friday, August 17, 2018

Roger Federer sets up an all-Swiss quarter final playing 2 matches in one day at Cincinnati Open

 Day outfit

Roger Federer Tumblr

It might be Roger Federer’s first tournament since Wimbledon, but the Swiss certainly isn’t showing it with his tennis.

The seven-time champion advanced to the quarter-finals of the Western & Southern Open with a 6-1, 7-6(6) victory against Argentine Leonardo Mayer on Friday afternoon, and he will play compatriot Stan Wawrinka later in the evening.

"It’s been a while since I’ve played two matches in one day. Apparently it was 2004. I did play a lot of practice twice a day so if I won’t be ready for today, I’ll never be ready," Federer told ESPN on court after the match. "I’m excited. Playing against Stan obviously is a treat. Ten years ago and two days ago we won the Olympic gold together and we’re still playing... I'm very excited to play against him and it’s great for him, I’m happy to see him back again."

Federer, who went just 1-4 in his first four appearances in Cincinnati, has now won 43 of 47 matches here since. He missed the tournament in 2016 (left knee) and 2017 (back), but his victory against the World No. 50 extends his winning streak in Ohio to 12 matches and 15 sets in a row.

The 37-year-old lost just four first-serve points in his triumph, and did not face a break point. Mayer played well in the second set, giving himself an opportunity to force a decider for the second time in three matches against the World No. 2, but Federer extended his FedEx ATP Head2Head lead in their series to 3-0. He is not concerned about having to play a second match later Friday.

"We’re used to waiting. We came through the juniors where you played two, three matches and it rains and it stops and it rains again, so we’re used to it," Federer said. "I’m happy we got some play in already today and excited that the tournament is up and running again."

Federer will next face compatriot Wawrinka, who is playing his best tennis since undergoing two left knee surgeries last year. The former World No. 3 beat Hungarian Marton Fucsovics 6-4, 6-3 in one hour, 23 minutes.

Wawrinka was just 8-12 in 2018 entering the tournament, but he has shown that he is moving closer to his best form with impressive wins over 12th seed Diego Schwartzman, Japanese star Kei Nishikori and now Fucsovics, who tested him in a marathon three-setter last week in Toronto.

"Today it was important for me to start by being well, warmed, and ready. I'm really happy with the game, winning in two sets," Wawrinka said. "For sure it's completely different than last week. I think last week I gain a lot of confidence by winning two matches, losing to Rafa. This week I'm feeling much better with my tennis. So I'm happy to be in the quarter-finals. It's really good for me. I need to enjoy and get ready for tonight."

The Swiss is currently No. 151 in the ATP Rankings, but since he did not compete after Wimbledon in 2017, he has no points to defend for the rest of the season. A trip to the quarter-finals guarantees him at least 180 points, which is double the most points he has pocketed at any other tournament this campaign.

Federer leads Wawrinka 20-3 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, defeating his compatriot in straight sets in the 2012 Cincinnati semi-finals. All three of Wawrinka’s victories in their rivalry have come on outdoor clay.

"It will be really nice to play against him," Wawrinka said. "I had a really tough year with my injury. It was really tough. So now I'm happy to be back. I'm happy to be winning some matches."

Did You Know?

Federer has made the quarter-finals in Cincinnati in eight consecutive appearances dating back to 2009. The year before, he lost to Ivo Karlovic in the third round in a third-set tie-break.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Roger Federer makes winning return to Cincinnati

 Darth Federer is back 

Western Southern Open Facebook

Roger Federer Tumblr

Roger Federer’s first outing in the American Midwest in three years is off to a flying start with the Swiss seeing off Peter Gojowzcyk in the second round of the Western & Southern Open on Tuesday. In his first ATP World Tour event since turning 37 on 8 August, the seven-time champion needed just 72 minutes to defeat the German, 6-4, 6-4.

The No. 2 seed had not played since squandering a match point in his Wimbledon quarter-final defeat to Kevin Anderson a month ago and admitted to feeling anxious about his US summer hard-court return. But despite a rusty opening service game, in which he rolled down two double faults to face a break point, the Swiss soon hit his straps to build a 4-2 lead.

He served out the opening set 6-4 with a sublime serve-volley reaping the backhand volley winner. When Federer broke in the opening game of the second set he looked to be cruising, with a touch-volley winner edging him to 4-2.

Saving his best point for the brink of defeat, Gojowzyck – who had defeated Joao Sousa in the first round – pulled off a smash passing shot on his way to holding for 3-4 but it would not distract Federer from the job at hand. He served it out to love to set a third-round meeting with Argentine Leonardo Mayer, an earlier 7-6(7), 6-4 winner over Andy Murray's conqueror, Lucas Pouille.

Did You Know?

Roger Federer has now won his past 11 matches in Cincinnati. The last man to defeat him was Rafael Nadal in the 2013 quarter-finals.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Roger Federer ready to go for another Cincinnati Open

Roger Federer is not only beloved by fans around the world; he’s also a favourite among the tennis media. And it was easy to see why on Monday at the Western & Southern Open, when a relaxed and playful Federer engaged the media during a wide-ranging press conference that covered ground stretching from the Swiss Alps to the Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis, Missouri.

Federer, 37, was asked if he saw any similarities between himself and Tiger Woods, who at 42, finished second at last week’s PGA Championships. “I don’t think I can relate [to what he’s gone through] because he’s had multiple surgeries on different parts of his body,” Federer said. “But It was nice to see him do well again for the first time in a while and hopefully that will transform into some victories now. It was exciting from what I heard and the little bit I watched.”

Now in his 20th year on tour and about to play his 1,416th tour-level match, Federer said that smart scheduling was critical to his longevity in the sport. And he said his decision to take the necessary time away from the game following knee surgery in February 2016 was now paying dividends.

“Because of the knee problem and the surgery I had and the six months I took, it’s made it much easier,” Federer said. “It puts everything in perspective and you’re happier to take a week off and stay on tour and be healthy rather than be playing, playing, playing and something pops and you are out for the count, maybe forever. It is hard emotionally because you wish you could play everything, but in return I get a more relaxed schedule, I can plan much better with my family, which is super important to me and I can also plan my practices with my coaches and everybody’s rhythm is known. If I want to play more I can always do that. If I want to play less, I can do that too. So I feel I have passed the hectic part of my life. Because of the rhythm I feel everything is quite comfortable.”

Federer was also asked about his adventure in the Swiss Alps with celebrity survivalist Bear Grylls. The pair teamed up in early 2017 but the episode of the TV show only recently aired on NBC in the United States.

“I’d met Bear many times before I did the show. I know his mum is a huge fan of mine. He said to let him know if I ever wanted to do the show and I asked if we could do it in Switzerland so I could show Switzerland to the world. I grew up hiking and I love going for hikes with my children and this whole survival stuff. I feel very connected to [nature] with the mountains, the lakes, the forests, everything we have. The only problem is that it was snowy and cold, and I don’t like cold.

“After the [2017] Australian Open we made a schedule that worked and I had a great time. I didn’t expect [eating] the fish eye and going down the big [ice] cliff. It was great fun, I really enjoyed it.”

Federer, 29-4 on the year with three titles at the Australian Open, Rotterdam (where he became the oldest World No. 1 in history) and Stuttgart, is playing his first match since a 13-11 fifth-set loss to Kevin Anderson in the Wimbledon quarter-finals. The seven-time Cincinnati champion, who is chasing his 99th career title, will open his campaign with a first-time meeting Tuesday night (not before 7pm ET) against World No. 47 German Peter Gojowczyk.

The father of four has not played a hard-court match since a surprise opening-round loss to Australian 22-year-old Thanasi Kokkinakis at the Miami Open presented by Itau in March. But Federer says that he is confident of a strong showing in Cincinnati.

“I’ve been practising on hard courts, so it’s not like I haven’t played on hard courts for forever. I feel I am really ready to go. Anxious actually. Cincy has been a great tournament for me in the past. It’s great to be back and hopefully I can play a good tournament.”

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Simona Halep victorious at Rogers Cup in Montreal


World No.1 Simona Halep needed over two-and-a-half hours of bruising baseline tennis to overcome No.3 seed Sloane Stephens in the Rogers Cup final and win her third title of the year.

MONTREAL, Canada -- After a bruising baseline battle with numerous twists and turns, World No.1 Simona Halep of Romania claimed her third title of the year at the Rogers Cup on Sunday, outlasting No.3 seed Sloane Stephens of the United States, 7-6(6), 3-6, 6-4.

The rematch of the 2018 Roland Garros final between two of the reigning Grand Slam champions lived up to expectations, as Roland Garros titlist winner Halep fended off four set points to claim the opening set, before emerging victorious over reigning US Open champion Stephens in a tense final set after two hours and 41 minutes of play.

Both players exhibited a stunning combination of outstanding defense and agile attacking from all sections of the court, and they each won over three-quarters of points on their opponent's second serves. But it was Halep who held on down the stretch, garnering a crucial break at 5-2 in the third and withstanding a fiery fightback by Stephens to get over the finish line on her fourth championship point.

Therefore, Halep claimed the Rogers Cup title for the second time -- she won the event the most recent time it was played in Montreal, in 2016 -- and a third singles title of the season after winning at Shenzhen in January and clinching her maiden Grand Slam title in Paris in June.

After a routine hold by Stephens, Halep went on a tear to open the match, cruising through the opening stages due to deep hitting and powerful forehands, many down the line. After breaking Stephens for a 2-1 lead, the World No.1 held for 3-1 from break point down, closing out the game with an ace.

Another impressive game by Halep occurred on the following Stephens service game: a strong forehand forced a netted error by Stephens to bring up break point, which the Romanian converted with a forehand winner down the line. At this point, Halep had picked up four games in a row en route to a 4-1 lead.

But Stephens rediscovered her aggression while the forehand of Halep began to falter. After Halep fired a forehand miscue on a point that would have given her 5-1, the American took one break back for 4-2 with a crosscourt return winner, and leveled the set at 4-4 by swiftly breaking Halep for a second successive time.

The rallies became more grueling as Halep broke Stephens with a crosscourt winner to take a 5-4 lead and serve for the set. But Stephens was unbowed, breaking Halep for a third straight time with a scintillating forehand winner. The American then held two set points on Halep’s serve at 6-5, but a crosscourt backhand saved one, and Stephens netted a return on the second.

hey advanced to the tiebreak, where numerous forehand errors by Halep gave Stephens a commanding 4-0 lead, and the Romanian double faulted to put Stephens up 5-1 at the change of ends. But Stephens fired groundstrokes long on both of her service points at 5-2, putting Halep back on serve in the tiebreak.

Another Halep double fault gave Stephens two more set points at 6-4, but Halep saved the first with a stunning crosscourt angled forehand that barely clipped the sideline, and Stephens pushed a forehand into the net to make it 6-6. On the next point, Halep crushed a backhand down the line to hold her first set point, which she converted to claim an intense opening set.

But Stephens was unbothered by the loss of the first set, and after an exchange of breaks to start the second set, the reigning US Open champion claimed a decisive break lead at 2-1 following a Halep double fault while down break point.

The American staved off two break points at 3-2 behind extravagant hitting from her forehand wing, and held for 4-2 at a pivotal juncture. Halep served to stay in the set at 5-3, often deploying a drop shot to generally favorable results as she erased three set points. But Stephens reached a fourth set point, and broke Halep for the set after a backhand by the Romanian went wide.

Halep came out swinging in the decider, using stellar defense to chase down everything Stephens threw at her, and breaking to start the third set. But Stephens rebounded to break back for 2-2 after a scorching forehand winner.

However, Halep claimed a pivotal game when she erased a 40-0 lead for Stephens to break for 3-2 in the following game, as the American fired five consecutive unforced errors. Halep stayed consistent, keeping the rallies long, and raced to a 5-2, double-break lead, as the Stephens miscues mounted.

The No.3 seed put up a valiant effort to stay in the encounter after Halep squandered her first match point at 5-2 with a double fault. The Romanian fired two errors on the next two points to drop serve, and then could not convert either of two championship points on the Stephens serve, the American saving the final chance with a winning volley en route to a hold for 5-4.

Halep, though, would not be denied, using some of her most powerful serving and hitting at the very end of the match, setting up two more championship points after Stephens returned a strong serve wide. Finally, on her fourth match point, Halep slammed her third ace of the match, and fell to her knees in triumph and exhaustion after a grueling fight.

I still don't know how Simona pulled this one off. One of the best women's matches and finals I've seen in a while while.

There's a great rivalry building between these 2. It would certainly be something if they met again in the final of the U.S. Open in September.

Well done to both ladies for an amazing battle of wills, and to Simona for continuing to prove she is and always will be the consummate fighter on the WTA tour (she somehow managed to win 2 matches in one day after a 3 hour battle for a place int the quarters).

Congrats on your 2nd Rogers Cup Simona, Montreal is definitely your city :).