Swinging his racquet as though it were a magic wand, Roger Federer was at his vintage best in dismissing the world's no. 2 player, Novak Djokovic, to claim a record-breaking fifth Cincinnati Masters title.
Federer required only 20 minutes to win the first set, 6-0, the only bagel between these two men in 28 meetings.
Federer appears to have re-established his dominance over the tour at the moment and now holds a 16-12 head-to-head record over one of his biggest rivals in Djokovic. In a first set that was never competitive, Federer broke his opponent's serve to start the match and never looked back as Djokovic conceded one unforced error after another, including four double faults.
Federer, though, was on his game and didn't allow Djokovic's poor play to affect him, as he yanked the Serb from one end of the court to the other.
Federer's transitional tennis was some of the best you'll ever see. He eased his way to net at every opportunity. His volleying and footwork look absolutely sublime, as they have since around the time of his semifinal match against Djokovic at Wimbledon.
Federer's forehand was in devastating form, and his serve was on song as he produced eight aces for the match with just one double fault. There was no chink in the armour for the Swiss maestro. He mixed his backhands perfectly, at times knifing the slice, then alternating between flat and top-spin shots.
Djokovic had no answer and even with the second set played on more level terms, Novak was never able to make an impression on the Federer serve.
A second set tiebreaker saw a relentless, focused Federer. His turnaround in recent times can be directly attributed to his ability to maintain his mental focus throughout the match. Djokovic saved one match point—and even had a set point—but the imperious Federer reeled off three consecutive points to dispatch Novak in straight sets.
At times it's hard for even the most gifted and poetic writers to describe Federer's brilliance and sheer genius.
Now 31, Federer made a conscious decision this season to increase his workload on the court. Still, the fact that he was ranked No. 3 for most of the year and is now sitting pretty at the top of the men's game is almost inexplicable.
Every loss is humbling for Federer, but he moves on so quickly that he never allows a setback to linger, which may best explain why he's managed to win three out of four majors in a year on three occasions. He's always motivated and isn't found muttering a word about a tennis schedule that many players question with some disdain.
He knows his body and when to push himself, when to back down and when to unwind.
Now he has a week to prepare for the U.S. Open, and he'll be brimming with confidence as the hot favourite to win a sixth U.S. Open title. Hopefully tennis fans can appreciate what they are witnessing; it's almost as though Federer has discovered a new realm of greatness, excellence and superiority.
Perhaps he stepped in to some sort of time machine, and he's 25 years old again.
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