Djokovic Claims Career Golden Master’s With Victory in Cincinnati (written by Emre Saridogan)
It has been a strange week for Novak Djokovic, with fatigue and illness threatening to stand in the way of his quest to win the Cincinnati Masters. But the Serb showed his true qualities as a champion and fought through adversity to clinch the title in Cincinnati. Djokovic beat long time rival Roger Federer 6-4 6-4 in a rather underwhelming final in which Federer never really got going.
A lot was at stake in this match, with Federer looking to claim a 99th career title, and Djokovic aiming to complete the career Golden Masters, an achievement only completed if you win all 9 Masters 1000 tournaments. Djokovic was looking to become the first player ever to achieve this.
Djokovic had had a difficult week, battling past a stomach bug and the burden of playing 2 matches in one day to reach the final. Although Federer competed with Djokovic in the early stages, the Serb managed to steal a break of serve at 3-3. This proved to be decisive, as Federer could not break back, and lost the first set 6-4. Federer looked to be finding another gear at the beginning of the 2nd set, going 2-0 up. However, his lead was short lived, as Djokovic managed to claw the break back, before breaking Federer once again at 3-3. There was no coming back for Federer, who missed a routine forehand wide on match point to grant Djokovic victory.
“Obviously it’s a very special moment to stand here for the first time with the winning trophy here in Cincinnati,” Djokovic said. “The hard times I went through, it’s been a rollercoaster ride in my career with injury, taking time off and having a surgery earlier this year. This seems a bit unreal to be back at this level.”
This win moves Djokovic up to 6th in the World Rankings, and to 3rd in the Race To London, as Djokovic looks to return to the World Tour Finals after being absent in 2017.
Also in Cincinnati, there was a surprise victory for Kiki Bertens over Simona Halep in the women’s final. Bertens saved a match point en route to winning 2-6 7-6 6-2. Bertens won the biggest tournament of her career, beating the World Number One in the process, making it one of her best weeks on tour.
“I think I didn’t have really a good time to get nervous, because I was just so tired,” Bertens said with a smile, during her post-match press conference. “I think it was such a tough match, and after winning that second set I knew, like, anything is still possible.”