After a great 2012 season when he won Wimbledon and three Masters 1000 titles, Roger Federer started to struggle in the biggest events, having to wait for two years before he picked up his next big title in Cincinnati 2014.
It was a rather slow start for him against Vasek Pospisil and Gael Monfils but he raised his level against the Top 10 opponents Andy Murray and Milos Raonic, setting up the final meeting with David Ferrer and chasing his sixth Cincinnati crown.
This was their 16th match on the Tour (they only played one more after that) and Federer grabbed his 16th win, beating the Spaniard 6-3 1-6 6-2 in an hour and 42 minutes to lift his 80th ATP title, becoming only the third player who achieved that in the Open era after Jimmy Connors and Ivan Lendl.
The Swiss won eight points more than the Spaniard and he played better on both the first and the second serve. Both players had more winners than unforced errors but we saw no less than 25 break points, with Roger saving nine out of 11 and scoring three from 14 chances he earned.
David had the advantage in the longer exchanges with five strokes or more but he couldn't keep the pace with Federer in the shortest area up to four shots where Roger forged a 54-38 lead that gave him the triumph. Federer fired up his engines right from the start, holding in the opening game with an ace and moving 2-1 in front with another comfortable hold.
David was there to fight and he brought the sixth game home with a service winner to level the score at 3-3 after just 17 minutes. On the other hand, everything worked fine in Roger's game and he grabbed the seventh game with three winners, making a lot of damage with his serve and forehand and converting the first break point of the match in game eight after a double fault from Ferrer to open up a 5-3 advantage.
Out of sudden, David created three break points in the following game but he was denied by two volley winners from Federer who had to save another break point when his forehand landed long. he did that with a service winner and he wrapped up the opener in 30 minutes when David's backhand finished outside the court.
The Spaniard saved no less than four break points in the opening game of the second set and he had three break points on Roger's serve, looking to build up the lead for the first time in the match. Federer fends them off with three winners but David managed to convert the fourth after forcing an error from Roger's backhand to move 2-0 in front.
A commanding hold at 15 in game three propelled Ferrer further away and he was the dominant figure on the court now, earning another break in game four when Federer's drop shot failed to pass the net. Ferrer dominated from the baseline line and he held at love to sprint into a 5-0 lead, claiming 15 of the last 17 points.
Things went from bad to worse for Roger who had to save a set point in game six in order to avoid a bagel, doing that with a volley winner at the net and repelling another one with a good serve, clinching that game to gain at least some momentum before the decider.
David saved a break point in game seven and the set was in his hands after a backhand down the line winner, matching Roger's numbers in the quickest exchanges and creating a lead in those extended rallies that brought him the set.
It was important for Federer to make a strong start in the deciding set and he fired a service winner to take the opening game, adding four more direct points in game three for a 2-1 lead. His forehand was back and that was a game changer, breaking Ferrer in game four to open up the advantage and wrapping up the fifth game with four winners for a 4-1.
David saved numerous break points to reduce the deficit to 4-2 but that was all we saw from him, as Federer held in game seven with four winners to force his rival to serve for staying in the match. David suffered another break in game eight when his backhand missed the baseline and Roger could have started a celebration of the biggest title in two years that gave him more boost (he was already in the final of Wimbledon and Toronto) before the finish of the season where he played on a very high level again.