Steady, powerful Djokovic downs Federer to win Cincinnati

So many peo­ple love Roger Federer: his game, his personality and his influence. But on Sunday in Cincinnati, he was off, while Novak Djokovic was totally locked in. He won 6-4, 6-4, hitting with so much depth, with aggression and thoughtfulness.

Federer had held 100 holds, but early in the first set, the Serbian pushed him back, cracked it and finally, the Swiss was broken. From right then, you knew that Djokovic would continue to mix it up, back and forth, nailing his backhand and hustling. Now the former No. 1 is totally back, and while on Monday, he will “only” be ranked No. 6. The three favorites at the US Open will be Djokovic, Federer and of course, Rafa Nadal, who just won Toronto. Perhaps those three players are the best players, ever. That should be a hell of a match in Flushing in a week’s time.

Djokovic is not serving as well as he could, and sometimes, he gets angry. He stopped playing over most of the end of last year because he was heavily injured. During the first five months in 2018, he was hesitating and missing. He grew frustrated and ticked off. But every day, he kept pushing, battling, changing and practicing. At the beginning of July, he was finally healthy and he won Wimbledon, edging Nadal 8-6 in the fifth in the semis and besting Kevin Anderson in the final
This week in Cincy he was not perfect, but he would re-boot. He won three setters over Grigor Dimintrov, Milos Raonic and Marin Cilic. In the final, he was almost perfect, with his high, spinning forehand and his powerful backhand. He is certainly back and after he won, he smiled very wide.

“This seems to be a bit unreal, to be honest, to be back at this level,” Djokovic said. 
Bertens’ surprise jump to the title
Who would have thought that Kiki Bertens would win this event? Sure, she improved a lot this year, but she’s 26 years old, so she was not a top 15 player for a decade. Now she is, beating the No. 1 Simon Halep 2-6, 7-6(6), 6-2 in the Cincy final. She is now ranked No. 13, and should go higher in the next month.

Halep had a match point in the second-set tiebreak, but she hesitated and hit it soft. She missed and then Bertens flew away. She wasn’t tired at all, while Halep was worn out. She won Montreal, and she was so close to winning big titles back-to-back, but she slipped, with 13 unforced errors in the third. Halep gave Bertens a chance to pull away.

“I had a match (point), so I was there,” Halep said. “I didn’t take my chance. In the third set, I was empty and I couldn’t fight anymore I need a little bit of rest because I’m exhausted,” Halep said. “But I also take the positive from these two weeks. It’s a great confidence (boost).”
Bertens has been very steady, but until this season, she rarely went for winners. This time, she was hitting close to the lines, spinning it around, changing things and focusing. That is the biggest tournament she/s won, besting Caro Wozniacki, Anett Kontaveit, Elena Svitolina, Petra Kvitova and then upsetting Halep. 

Bertens almost stopped playing in November and maybe ever quitting tennis, but she decided that she would try extra hard and be patient. And now, she is more calm, patient and better.

“You can achieve everything. Like, if you really work hard, a lot of things are possible. I think you see that with me,” Bertens said. “I would have never believed, that I would have come so far, but it is still happening.”

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