Just a month after their Wimbledon final in 2012, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic met in the Cincinnati final three years after the previous one that Roger won 6-1, 7-5. In a similar outcome, the Swiss notched a 6-0, 7-6 victory in an hour and 20 minutes on August 19 for the fifth Cincinnati crown, completing an incredible week with the 16th win over Novak in 28 encounters in the last six years.
The opening set offered the only bagel we saw in the clashes between these two before Djokovic raised his level in set number two, missing a set point at 7-6 in the tie break and finishing runner-up for the fourth time in the previous five years in Ohio!
Federer was forced to play a tie break in the last three matches against Mardy Fish, Stan Wawrinka and Novak Djokovic. Still, the scoreboard was almost always on his racquet, facing just three break points in five encounters and never losing serve!
Novak won only 14 points on the return, creating no break chances and dropping 40% of the points behind the initial shot to suffer three breaks from four opportunities given to Roger. The Swiss had the edge in the shortest points and in the most extended rallies, where Novak should have had the advantage, outplaying his rival in the opening set and staying on a high level in the second to claim the title.
Djokovic could not find his usual range, hitting 12 winners and 23 unforced errors. In comparison, Federer blasted 28 winners and 18 errors, dominating with his initial shot and forehand and keeping the backhand safe enough to stay on the court for just 80 minutes.
Novak sprayed a forehand error to get broken in the match’s first game, never a good sign in significant clashes, and Roger confirmed the advantage with a forehand down the line winner in the next one. Djokovic hit a double fault to get broken again and found himself 4-0 down after only 11 minutes following Federer’s four service winners!
Things went from bad to worse for the Serb, who hit another double fault to offer a break chance in game five, with Roger forcing a forehand error to move 5-0 ahead.
In Cincinnati 2012, Roger Federer defeated Novak Djokovic in straight sets.
The Swiss landed a powerful forehand down the line a few minutes later to clinch the opening set in just 20 minutes, hoping for more in set number two.
Novak had to change things on the court quickly if he wanted to avoid a complete disaster, including much better performance on his second serve that Federer had pushed to the limits in the opener. In the first game, the Serb got his name on the scoreboard when Roger sent a forehand wide and went 2-1 in front after forcing Federer’s error, hitting in a much better rhythm than in the previous set.
Still, the Swiss was rock-solid behind the initial shot, firing an ace to level the score at 2-2 before another comfortable hold from Djokovic, who now had the edge from the baseline. A fantastic half-volley winner delivered another hold for Roger in the sixth game, and Novak had the answer ready, moving 4-3 in front with a service winner.
At that point, Federer hit 39% of the shots from inside the baseline while Djokovic took only 19%, unable to impose his game and take power off the rival’s racquet. A service winner secured another comfortable hold for Roger in the eighth game, and they both served well for 5-5, getting closer to a tie break.
A backhand down the line winner gave Novak another advantage in the 11th game, and Roger followed that pace with an unreturned serve to set up a tie break. The Swiss took the opening point on the return with a smash winner, playing almost without errors at the net so far.
Novak made two forehand mistakes in the following points to find himself 3-0 down, with no room for more in the rest of the breaker if he wanted to stay in the title chase. The Serb won the following two points on serve to start his comeback, pulling the mini-break back with a deep return in the sixth point that forced Roger’s error.
Out of a sudden, Novak had the upper hand on the court, moving 4-3 ahead with a forehand winner but spoiling everything in the next one when his forehand landed long. Two service winners propelled Roger 6-5 in front before Novak saved a match point with another good forehand, earning a set point after one of the longest points of the encounter.
Focused and composed, Roger saved it with a smash winner and hit another from his forehand for the second match point, sealing the deal with yet another direct point for 9-7 and the fifth Ohio crown.