Federer Still King of the Mountain

by John on November 19, 2007


The more things change, the more they stay the same. So it was yesterday in Shanghai, as Roger Federer won his fourth Masters Cup in five years with a no-doubt-about-it 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 victory over David Ferrer of Spain. The season-ending Masters Cup pits the top eight players in the world against one and other in a round-robin format. The title was Federer’s eighth of the year and 53rd of his career. Coming into the tournament, it appeared that there were some chinks in the No. 1-ranked Swiss star’s armour. Federer lost to Argentine David Nalbandian in two of the last three regular season tournaments. Nalbandian’s late season success, titles at both the Madrid and Paris Masters, pushed his ranking to No. 9, one slot short of qualifying for Shanghai. There were some who thought Nalbandian was playing the best tennis of anyone in the world in October and early November. But the Argentine, with no guarantee of playing as first alternate, did not make the trip to China. To add more doubt to the state of Federer’s form, Chile’s Fernando Gonzalez disposed of the Swiss Maestro 3-6, 7-6, 7-5 in the opening match on Monday. It marked the first time Federer had lost consecutive matches in 4 1/2 years. The loss was a wake-up-call for the world’s No. 1 player. Federer breezed into the final with a 6-4, 6-1 semifinal rout of Rafael Nadal on Saturday, after posting a 2-1 record in round-robin play. Ferrer, ranked No. 6 in the world, stormed into Sunday’s matchup with an even-better record, 3-0 in the round robin, and a 6-1, 6-3 shellacking of Andy Roddick in the other semifinal. He was brimming with confidence. That was until he ran into the steamroller known as Federer. Federer broke the Spaniard twice in each set and was never really challenged. “He’s playing very, very well,” said Ferrer in the understatement of the day. “He has no weak point.” Federer played stifling defense and attacked whenever the opportunity was there. Ferrer had just 10 winners and 38 unforced errors. Federer’s hit 30 winners and committed 29 unforced errors. “I surprise myself at times,” said the world’s No. 1. “I’ve always had a tendency to all of a sudden go in streaks. Once you get on a roll, it’s so hard for the opponent to come back into it. I don’t allow them.” Indeed. “It was a nice victory,” said Federer. “Especially proving it, to myself and the world, that I can do it over and over again. This is the year-end tournament that only the best can make it to.” Swiss fans said it best with a banner up in the seats reading, “Shhh! Quiet! Genius at work.”

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