Going into the Cincinnati Masters final against seven-time champion Roger Federer you would have thought Novak Djokovic would already have a Cincinnati trophy in his cabinet at home, but no, from five finals appearances he was yet to claim a title. This title had eluded him, and it was the last of nine required to complete a career Golden Masters.
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Photo: MASON, OH – AUGUST 19: Novak Djokovic of Serbia poses with the winner’s trophy after defeating Roger Federer of Switzerland during the men’s final of the Western & Southern Open at Lindner Family Tennis Center on August 19, 2018 in Mason, Ohio. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
This was a big match and the 46th time the two great players faced each other with Djokovic holding the advantage with 23-22 wins. They had met three times already in the final at Cincinnati with Djokovic yet to win a set against Federer.
Djokovic claimed his first set against Federer in a Cincinnati final with one break of serve and he did not face a single break point against his serve. Once that set was in the bag the odds heavily favoured Djokovic. He had lost just once in their 45 matches after taking the first set.
In the second set, Djokovic broke Federer twice while being broken once himself. That was enough to complete an amazing feat, the first singles career Golden Masters, a journey that started back in 2007 with the Miami Masters. A 6-4, 6-4 win.
“Obviously it’s a very special moment to stand here for the first time with the winning trophy here in Cincinnati,” Djokovic said on court following the match. “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.”
Federer was full of praise for Djokovic after the final: “Congratulations Novak on writing history today. It’s an amazing effort not just today but your whole career to get to this point. It’s an amazing achievement. You should be very proud. Well done.”
Djokovic takes his overall ATP title count to 70, sixth on the all-time leader’s list. Federer is second on 98 titles with Jimmy Connors in the top spot with 109 titles. Rafael Nadal leads the ATP Masters 1000 titles leaderboard with 33 titles, 31 for Djokovic and 27 for Federer.