On this day: Roger Federer matches Jimmy Connors and Ivan Lendl



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On this day: Roger Federer matches Jimmy Connors and Ivan Lendl

After a successful 2012 season that saw him winning Wimbledon and three Masters 1000 titles, Roger Federer started to lose the pace with the main rivals at the most prestigious events, having to wait for two years before picking up the next big title in Cincinnati 2014.

In the previous weeks, Roger lost the Wimbledon final to Novak Djokovic and another in Toronto against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga after squandering a considerable lead. The Swiss didn't have too much time to think about that defeat, switching focus on Cincinnati, one of his favorite tournaments in the calendar.

It was a rather slow start for Federer against Vasek Pospisil and Gael Monfils, raising his level against the top-10 opponents Andy Murray and Milos Raonic and setting up the final meeting with David Ferrer on August 17. It was their 16th clash on the Tour (they would only play once more after that) and Federer delivered the 16th triumph, beating the Spaniard 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 in an hour and 42 minutes to lift the 80th ATP title, becoming only the third player in the Open era to achieve that after Jimmy Connors and Ivan Lendl!

The Swiss won eight points more than the Spaniard and played better on both the first and second serve, with both competitors hitting more winners than unforced errors, backed by no less than 25 break chances that kept the crowd entertained.

Roger saved nine out of 11 and scored three from 14 chances, dominating in sets he won to lift the sixth trophy in Ohio. David had the advantage in the more extended exchanges with five strokes or more but couldn't keep the pace with Federer in the shortest area up to four shots, with Roger forging a 54-38 advantage that provided the victory for him.

Federer fired up his engines right from the opening point, holding in the first game with an ace and moving 2-1 in front with another comfortable hold. David was there to fight, though, bringing the sixth game home with a service winner to level the score at 3-3 after just 17 minutes and looking determined to give Roger run for his money in the seventh Masters 1000 final.

In Cincinnati 2014, Roger Federer won the 80th ATP title at 33.

On the other hand, everything worked like a charm for Roger, taking the seventh game with three winners and moving 5-3 up after Ferrer's costly double fault in the next one.

Out of sudden, David created three break chances a few minutes later but it wasn't to be for him, denied by two volley winners from Federer who had to save another break point when his forehand landed long. The Swiss did that with a service winner and wrapped up the opener in 30 minutes when David's backhand finished outside the court.

The Spaniard saved no less than four break chances in the opening game of the second set, earning three opportunities on Roger's serve and hoping to build up the lead for the first time. Federer fended them off with three winners before Ferrer converted the fourth after forcing an error from Roger's backhand, moving 2-0 in front and gaining a massive boost.

A powerful hold at 15 propelled David 3-0 in front, standing as the dominant figure on the court now and seizing another break in game four when Federer's drop shot failed to pass the net. Ferrer had the upper hand from the baseline and held at love to sprint into a 5-0 advantage, claiming 15 of the last 17 points to leave Roger far behind!

Things went from bad to worse for the Swiss, who had to save a set point in game six to avoid a bagel, doing that with a volley winner at the net and repelling another one with a good serve, clinching the game to attain 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 ones that delivered him the set in dominant style.

It was important for Federer to leave this part of the encounter behind and make a strong start in the deciding set, firing a service winner to take the opening game and adding four more direct points in game three for a 2-1 lead.

His forehand was back at business 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 chances to reduce the deficit in game six, but that was all we saw from him, as Federer held quickly after that with four winners, forcing 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 start a celebration of the biggest title in two years. This crown gave him more boost (together with those finals of Wimbledon and Toronto) before the finish of the season, where he played on a very high level once again to close it as world no. 2.