Roger Federer justified the top-seed status that he takes to next week’s US Open with a convincing 6-0 7-6 victory over main rival Novak Djokovic in the final of the Cincinnati Masters, the final event both will contest before heading to New York.
The final Grand Slam of 2012 will be the first that the Swiss legend enters as top seed in over two years and a 20-minute first-set thrashing of the reigning US Open champion showed that his Olympic loss to Andy Murray hasn’t hurt his confidence.
In defiance of the unofficial rule that players should stop competing for the biggest prizes once they reach their 30s, the 31-year-old has been the star of the season. This was his sixth title, twice as many as the world number two has claimed.
Despite that form and the injury absence of long-term nemesis Rafael Nadal, Federer won’t arrive at Flushing Meadows as the favourite, his odds of 5/2 considerably longer than the 5/4 on Djokovic, a man he has beaten twice in a row now.
Admittedly, there isn’t much correlation between Cincinnati Masters success and US Open glory, with only three men winning both in the same year this century, however Djokovic is hardly at the top of his game at present.
The Serbian has won just one of the last eight tournaments that he has contested and that was the Rogers Cup, where Federer and Nadal didn’t compete and Andy Murray withdrew injured early on.
Also counting against the favourite is the fact that Federer is the only man since Pat Rafter in 1998 to have defended the US Open title.
Djokovic’s underwhelming recent record and the sudden unpredictability at the top level, with three different champions at the first three majors for the first time since 2005, all bodes well for 3/1 third favourite Murray too.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.