Cincinnati Flashback: Roger Federer moves closer to Rafael Nadal

Tennis - Federer prevailed over Mardy Fish in the 2010 final to move one Masters 1000 title behind Nadal

by Jovica Ilic
Cincinnati Flashback: Roger Federer moves closer to Rafael Nadal

Roger Federer claimed the fourth Cincinnati crown in one of the toughest challenges in his successful Ohio campaigns in 2010. Roger defeated Mardy Fish 6-7, 7-6, 6-4 in two hours and 40 minutes to lift the trophy. It was the season's second title for Roger after the Australian Open.

He had lost some tight encounters in the previous months, including the quarter-final defeats to Robin Soderling and Tomas Berdych at Roland Garros and Wimbledon. After this Cincinnati triumph, Roger's year turned in a more positive direction.

He reached the US Open semi-final and won Stockholm, Basel and the ATP Finals for the year-end no. 2 spot. The Swiss played three matches before the final clash. Two of those were completed encounters, with Denis Istomin retiring in the opening set and Philipp Kohlschreiber withdrawing due to an injury.

Nonetheless, Federer needed everything he had in his arsenal to emerge as a winner against Mardy. He ousted the American for the sixth time in seven meetings after losing the previous one in Indian Wells 2008 in straight sets.

Roger's 63rd ATP crown moved him closer to Bjorn Borg and Pete Sampras. Also, he tied Andre Agassi's record of 17 Masters 1000 titles and stood one behind the leader Rafael Nadal. The American fired 17 aces after landing only 56% of the first serve in.

He saved four out of five break points to stay in touch with the multiple champion. Federer was a better player on the first and second serve. He defended the only break point offered to Fish and prevailed with a late break in the decider's ninth game that secured the fourth Ohio trophy in the last six years.

Both players hit more unforced errors than winners. Roger was a more aggressive figure on the court, firing more direct points and rushing to the net more often than Mardy.

Roger Federer claimed the fourth Cincinnati title in 2010 over Mardy Fish.

The American had a slight lead in the shortest rallies thanks to his serve.

However, Federer earned the victory in the mid-range exchanges, constructing them more efficiently to cross the finish line first. Fish experienced a break chance already in the encounter's third game. He saved it with a service winner and erased another after Roger's weak forehand that could have moved him in front.

After nine deuces and almost 15 minutes, Mardy finally brought the game home to avoid an early setback. Both players served well in the following five games to stay locked up at 4-4. Federer created another break chance in game nine, denied by Fish's ace down the T line.

We saw the first deuces in the Swiss' games at 4-5. Still, Fish could not earn break chances, having to think about defending his game a few minutes later. He landed an ace to fend off the danger and secure a tie break. The American moved 4-3 ahead after a deep return.

However, he stayed in front only for a couple of moments before Roger pulled the mini-break back instantly with a superb forehand down the line. Federer moved ahead with another forehand winner before losing the following two points on serve to fall 6-5 behind.

Fish clinched it with a service winner after grueling 67 minutes. Mardy had a colossal chance to move a set and a break up when he created a break opportunity at 2-2 in set number two. He squandered it with a terrible forehand from a well-constructed attack that could have brought him closer to the finish line.

Roger held with a service winner after three deuces to avoid the danger. Nothing could separate them by the end of the set, arranging another tie break with all the pressure on Federer's side of the net. As a true champion, Roger claimed the breaker 7-1, sealing it with an ace to send the encounter into a decider after two hours of play.

The first deuce in the final set came in the sixth game when Federer held after a service winner. He delivered the crucial break when Mardy netted a backhand at 4-4 for the only successful return game. Serving for the crown in game ten, Federer held at 30 after Fish's backhand error to celebrate his fourth and toughest Cincinnati title since 2005.

Roger Federer Rafael Nadal Mardy Fish