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Thu Apr 17 08:43:02 SAST 2014

Federer heads to US Open in ominous form

Simon Evans, Reuters | 20 August, 2012 08:530 Comments
*** BESTPIX *** Western & Southern Open - Day 9
Roger Federer of Switzerland celebrates after defeating Novak Djokovic of Serbia during the final on day nine of the Western & Southern Open at Lindner Family Tennis Center on August 18, 2012 in Mason, Ohio
Image by: Nick Laham / Getty Images

World number one Roger Federer heads to the US Open with a sixth tournament win of the year to his name, no evident fitness problems and little sign that his Olympic defeat by Andy Murray has had any adverse effect on his confidence.

The Wimbledon champion came to Cincinnati aiming to fine-tuning his game ahead of Flushing Meadows and showed with his classy performances that there is not much to adjust as he looks for a record-extending 18th grand slam.

The Swiss did not concede a break of serve in winning the tournament and securing his record fifth title at Cincinnati against the world number two Novak Djokovic 6-0 7-6 on Sunday.

“There is no doubt about it beating Novak in a final makes it extra special but then also (it was about) the reaction after losing in the Wimbledon (Olympic) final — to play a great finals after playing a not very good one at the Olympics where I went on to lose nine games in a row,” he said.

“I came here and never dropped my serve. That’s the kind of reaction I want to see from myself. I didn’t have a letdown.”

Among his rivals world number three Rafa Nadal misses the US Open due to a persistent knee injury and Murray pulled out of last week’s Toronto Masters event with his own knee problem and then was knocked out in the third round in Cincinnati.

Djokovic won in Toronto and reached his second final in a fortnight but his 6-0 hammering in the first set on Sunday will have left something of a scar.

Federer though looks in perfect condition. He seems fresh and sharp, has all areas of his game in order and is full of confidence.

“Even though I reached almost all goals already this year by securing a medal (at the Olympics), winning Wimbledon, and getting back to world number one, it’s important for me to push forward and give myself the best possible preparation for New York,” Federer added.

“Then if I can win tournaments, that’s even better. I really didn’t expect it. Same for Novak, I don’t think. We both didn’t expect to play so well right after the Olympics, even though we are world one and two.

“I thought it was a great effort by him and also for me. Obviously, this is a fantastic week.”

Half of Federer’s six titles this year have come in the Masters 1000 series with triumphs at Indian Wells and Madrid before Cincinnati.

Federer’s record in terms of match wins this year is also impressive — 56 victories and just seven defeats.

No wonder then that he has no special plans for this week’s build-up to Flushing Meadows.

“I rarely do crazy things before slams,” he said.

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