Roger versus Novak at the Western and Cincinnati Open, 2018
The tennis world was waiting for this mouth-watering showdown between 2 wonderful gladiators, most charismatic and as popular as any rock star can be.
Roger Federer, and Novak Djokovic two living legends form part of the ruling quartet along with current world number 1, Rafael Nadal and Sir Andy Murray of Britain.
Novak is now seen coming back strongly to peak form after a testing period in the 2016 and 2017,
He has started reaching the finals and got back his winning ways. Kevin Anderson was really disappointed, that Novak chose Wimbledon this year to get back to his winning ways.
As in Wimbledon, Novak looked to be stretched by all his opponents, until he reached the final. Here he moved into his customary old imperious self, with immaculate defence blended with select aggression.
Novak had to play 3 sets against all his opponents, all impressive performers, Mannarino, Dimitrov, Raonic, Cilic, starting from the 2nd round onwards. Only he won against Stuart Johnson in two.
Roger started with a bye, worked his way through rounds 2 and 3, against Gozowczyk and Mayer in 2 undisturbed sets. Then in the quarterfinal against Wawrinka, he managed to steal victory in a hard-fought 2nd set, taking the match into a decider, which saw Stan wilt away.
In the semis, Roger was challenged to a tiebreak by an injured Goffin, who quickly retired in the 2nd set due to injury.
The final match started like clockwork with both platers holding serve. Roger seemed to be going for his shots attacking most balls, and missing the mark marginally, but still managing to hold serve.
The break in the 7th game came suddenly, while it was not completely unpredictable. The defining moment of the match came when Roger ballooned a routine forehand at break point.
This is what could be called scoreboard pressure or the famous 7th game nemesis catching up with arguably the finest player the world has witnessed. It broke many a Federer fan’s hearts.
Novak was relentless, in opening this window, and made no errors in closing out the set on his service game.
Roger had to get back in the match. In the 2nd set, he took the first game on his serve, forced an error from Djokovic to make it Deuce in the second game on Djokovic’s serve.
With a few tantalizing points played by Roger in legendary fashion, Djokovic was broken with a double fault
The scoreline in the second set was also 6-4 in favour of Novak.
The famous victory for Novak in his first Western and Cincinnati Open. Now he is the only man to have all 9 ATP Masters trophies in his collection.
We await more such thrilling moments in this brilliant sport.