Federer defeats Djokovic, will face Del Potro in finals

Federer

First and foremost, I want to commend Novak Djokovic for giving it his all. He played an incredible match, neck and neck with Federer in every set. However, while Djokovic was in top form, he’s no Roger Federer. Neither made many mistakes, earning points with well-placed shots after volleys rather than relying on aces.

After defeating Djokovic 7-6 7-5 7-5, Federer is now one match away from capturing his sixth consecutive U.S. Open Championship and sixteenth overall Grand Slam. He will face Juan Martin del Potro, the 20 year-old Argentine who defeated Rafael Nadal in straight sets earlier today. Del Potro has never made it to a Grand Slam final; Federer has been in 17 of the last 18. Who do you think is the favorite?

Djokovic and Federer provided several entertaining and clever drop shots, lobs, and lengthy volleys. Fed’s final winner in the twelfth game of the third set was just an extension of his dominance at this Grand Slam. But it was during the second to last point, seen in the video below, that caused Arthur Ashe Stadium to gasp in amazement. It’s the shot Federer is calling the greatest of his career.

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U.S. Open Update: Everything taking its course

The third round of the 2009 U.S. Open has nearly finished amidst the surprisingly welcoming weather at New York’s National Tennis Center. So far, there haven’t been many surprises. The top 16-ranked men all advanced rather seamlessly. Serena and Venus have had an easy time as well. Unfortunately, they are in the same draw and will likely meet in the semis. The other top female players are, as always, playing below their rank, as upsets and narrow victories are happening left and right.

This has been a topsy-turvy U.S. Open for the women: No. 8 Victoria Azarenka’s 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 loss to No. 26 Francesca Schiavone on Friday came a day after No. 4 Elena Dementieva and No. 5 Jelena Jankovic were upset. All told, 11 of the 20 highest-seeded women are gone, and the third round is only halfway done.

No. 1 Dinara Safina made it to Saturday’s third round, but barely. She needed more than 4 1/2 hours to get through two three-set victories.

The best men have faced no such problems: No. 3 Rafael Nadal’s 6-0, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory Friday night in the last match of Day 5 means the men seeded 1-16 all reached the third round at a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in the 41-year Open era.

Once again, the lovely Ana Ivanovic failed to perform well in a Grand Slam, losing to Kateryna Bondarenko in the first round. Maria Sharapova, however, has advanced to third round and is currently in the third set against American Melanie Oudin. It would be great to see the former No. 1-ranked star face Serena or Venus in the finals.

Federer wins title in Cincinnati

Fed

Roger Federer continued his dominant season, defeating Novak Djokavic to capture his third Western & Southern Financial Group Masters in Cincinnati.

The 28-year-old Federer is the fourth player to win at least three titles at the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters in the Open Era (since 1968). He has now won 16 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles (16-9 overall), second only to Andre Agassi’s 17, and 61 tour-level titles during his career (61-22 lifetime).

Federer cruised through the 33-minute first set, which included a 13-minute second game. Djokovic saved six of seven break points but Federer made the breakthrough and went on to secure a second service break in the fourth game. Federer won 16 of 19 service points, while Djokovic clinched his third service game to avoid a 6-0 set.

The Swiss superstar has a 202-60 match record since playing his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament at the 1999 Sony Ericcson Open in Miami. He trails only Agassi (209 wins).

Federer, who has been No. 1 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings for 244 weeks – fourth all-time behind Pete Sampras (286), Ivan Lendl (270) and Jimmy Connors (268), has captured three titles this year at ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Madrid (d. Nadal), Roland Garros (d. Soderling) and Wimbledon (d. Roddick).

Well, ladies and gents, it looks like we have a favorite going into the 2009 U.S. Open. Of course, this has already been a remarkable year for Fed, regaining his No. 1 ranking and becoming the Grand Slam record holder. That’s all well and good, but I’m hoping Federer doesn’t cruise through the U.S. Open. His loss to Rafael Nadal in the final at the Australian Open was great, as was his victory over Andy Roddick in the final at Wimbledon. Still, it’s seemed like he’s had an easy time since Nadal took some time off to nurse his knees. Thankfully, Andy Roddick has had a surprising year, giving the fans another epic Wimbledon final, nearly beating the Federer on his favorite surface.

Hopefully, Nadal can regain his prowess and make a run at the U.S. Open, the only Grand Slam he’s never won. Federer’s secured his place in the pantheon of tennis, so now I don’t feel like a have to root for the guy in every match. I’d like to see the wealth spread a little. Where you at Roddick and Blake?

Federer likely to play in Davis Cup

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After the U.S. Open, the last notable event that takes place on the ATP calendar is the Davis Cup. It looks like the Swiss team just lucked out, because now Roger Federer is considering joining them in September.

Federer was missing due to a back injury when Switzerland lost 4-1 to the United States in the first round of the World Group in March at Birmingham, Alabama.

The Swiss face Italy in a playoff at Genoa on Sept. 18-20 to stay in the elite 16-team group with a chance to win the 2010 title.

Federer will be 29 when next year’s final is played, with few chances left to fulfill his ambition of winning a first Davis Cup title for Switzerland.

Luethi, who is also part of Federer’s coaching team, said the top-ranked player told him in May and again at Wimbledon that he intended to play in Italy.

It’s been a crazy year for Federer. First, he ties Pete Sampras in career Grand Slams at the French Open, only to break that very record the next month at Wimbledon. Then he wife gives birth to twin girls.

Though many tennis players don’t count a win at the Davis Cup as essential, it’s possibly the only accomplishment Federer doesn’t have in his storied career. Count on Fed and teammate Stanislas Wawrinka making a case for Switzerland against Russia and Spain down the stretch.

Nadal to play in Montreal

Nadal

After his two month absence from tennis because of knee injuries, Rafael Nadal will attempt to defend his title at the Rogers Cup in Montreal.

Nadal says on his Web site that he’ll arrive in Montreal on Wednesday to begin preparations for the Aug. 10-16 hardcourt event. He is the defending champion.

Nadal has been out of action with tendinitis in both knees since losing at the French Open on May 31. He also will play in Cincinnati ahead of the U.S. Open, the only Grand Slam tournament he has never won.

Rogers Cup spokesman Louis-Philippe Dorais says organizers expect to hear from top-ranked Roger Federer in the next few days on whether he will play.

This is great news, especially since the U.S. Open is less than a month away. Though this year in tennis has belonged to Roger Federer, it’s been exciting to watch Andy Roddick regain some clout on the court. Since Roddick is pretty much the only male American representative tennis has, that’s the guy I’ll be rooting for. Still, the ATP needs more than two stars. Hopefully Nadal hasn’t lost a step and the Rogers Cup will be a good indication of whether or not he’ll be able to hold his ground at the U.S. Open.

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