Sunday 18 February 2018

Tennis: Federer edges out battling Fish to end title drought

Roger Federer ended a seven-month title drought with a 6-7 7-6 6-4 win over American Mardy Fish in Cincinnati Masters final yesterday.

Federer captured his 63rd title in his 90th final -- his victory was his fourth at Cincinnati since his first win in the tournament in 2005.

Fish, though, enhanced his growing reputation as a threat on the hard court with a mature display that bodes well for his chances of challenging at the US Open, which begins next week.

Fish won a tight first set on a tiebreak, but the momentum shifted in the second set when Federer raised his game a notch to run out a 7-1 winner in another tiebreak. Fish maintained his focus and continued to serve and return well, but Federer produced the first break of the match to go 5-4 up and then kept serve to win.

The Swiss had played just three hours and 25 minutes of tennis in the tournament before the final, thanks to a first-round bye, a retirement by his second-round opponent and a third-round walkover. But it was not fitness that proved the difference yesterday.

"He's a true champion, the greatest of all time," said Fish on court.

Federer, who had failed to add any trophies to his impressive collection since winning his 16th Grand Slam crown at the Australian Open in January, said he had grown to like a tournament which at first he found uncomfortable.

"I struggled at first here -- I didn't like the heat -- but it has been an amazing run for me here," he said.

Irish Independent

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