It is a truth universally acknowledged that I like nothing better than to wake up to a Federer victory. And I was not proved wrong today. Victory is sweet.
Cincinatti is nothing compared to the titles Roger's scooped in the past couple of months - I imagine the trophy will get shoved to the back of the cabinet behind some Wimbledons or Australian Opens - but I think this was an important win nonetheless, because over the course of it, Roger beat two members of the Fantastic Four: that group he did not have to face a single member of en route to his Roland Garros title and his sixth Wimbledon.
The final against Djokovic today was one thing - I don't think Roger has had anywhere near the number of issues with Novak over the years as he has with the other two - but I think it is the semi against Murray that will be the telling match of this tournament. I would not be at all surprised to see a rematch of last year's US Open final this year, and I think going in with the knowledge that a) he beat Murray last year and b) he has a good, recent win under his belt will do wonders for him.
I think Roger's pretty determined not to let Murray achieve the kind of psychological advantage that Nadal has, and this is a pretty good way to do it. I really liked what I saw of him in that match - and he did the same thing against Djokovic as well. He came roaring out of the blocks and won the first set in a snap of his fingers, and then hung tough in the second set, the spot where he is traditionally most likely to falter. He did go down a break to Djokovic in that set today after a lapse of concentration, but then he picked it right back up quickly. He got into the Djokovic serve pretty heavily, and that was good.
The one nemesis he hasn't faced for a while is Nadal, but even there, he has the most recent win on the board (being Madrid). It would be very interesting to see a semi final match up between these two - that said, I'd rather a Murray/Nadal semi, just for my own peace of mind, and also because I think that would be a really interesting match. But anyone who rules Nadal out as a possibility in New York is fooling themselves. Personally, I think we're going to see Federer/Murray again and that Rafa hasn't quite found that level again - we're seeing Shmafa out on the court at the moment - but I would never rule him out. Not in a hundred years.
Western and Southern Financial Group Masters (Cincinatti)
Roger Federer def. Novak Djokovic, 6-1 7-5
Elena Dementieva def. Maria Sharapova, 6-4 6-3
1 month ago