As expected Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic will meet for the 46th time in their illustrious career as they battle it out on Sunday for the seventh Master’s series event of the year in Cincinnati. Djokovic who has never won here before in five final appearances, stands on the verge of becoming the first ever player in the history of the game to win all nine Master’s titles, while Federer who has won all seven finals will be hoping to extend that run to win his 28th ATP 1000 title. For the record, Djokovic has won 30 till date, second only to the absent Rafael Nadal, who won his 33rd Master’s title last week in Toronto.
After both players completed double duty on Friday, the Wimbledon champion Djokovic, beat the 2016 champion Marin Cilic of Croatia 6-4,3-6,6-3 in exactly two hours and thirty minutes in the first semi final on Saturday. Cilic served 12 aces in the whole match to Djokovic’s tally of eight, but wasted numerous break point chances, converting only 3 out of twelve chances in the entire match. Djokovic converted on four out of eight break point chances.
The four time Wimbledon champion gained revenge for his loss to the Croat in the finals of the Queen’s Club ATP 500 event where Cilic saved a match point on his own serve before triumphing. Djokovic improves his head to head record to 15-2 against the 2014 U.S. Open champion Cilic, who did not defend his title last year (he won in 2016 ) due to injury. Djokovic will be going for 70th career title. Djokovic is now 32-10 for the year.
In the second semi final played in the evening session, David Goffin saved all four break point chances he faced but lost the all important first set tie-break 7-3 before eventually retiring due to shoulder injury with the scoreline 7-6(3),1-1 against the seven time champion Roger Federer.
The Swiss maestro had lost their meeting in London in the Semi-final of the World Tour Final, but looked strong as usual on his serve as he never faced break point and hit nine aces. Federer has held serve in 96 consecutive games in Cincinnati, and is on a 14 match winning streak in Cincinnati. They have played in the final in Cincinnati in 2009,2012 and 2015 with Federer coming out on top. Djokovic who leads the career head to head 23-22 has won their last two meetings. He will also be playing his 150th final having won 98 titles in his career.
Prediction :- It is 31 months since the two last met at the Australian Open when Djokovic, the then number one ranked player in the world dominated Federer in a four set win. Djokovic has looked not as convincing this week as he did enroute to winning Wimbledon but Federer too came within two points of losing against fellow Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka in the quarter final. Federer though is known to save his best for the last in Cincinnati and I would expect him to win in two very closely contested sets, quite likely three to claim his eighth title at Western & Southern Open final.