Whereas other top player stumbled and bumbled their way through the Western & Southern Open draw, Roger Federer simply has not been messing around this week.
The 34-year-old sent a message right away in Cincinnati that he would be a man on a mission to capture his seventh title at this event. In his opening match on Tuesday, Federer consistently returned Roberto Bautista Agut’s second serves from many feet inside the baseline. On a few occasions he even hit half-volleys from right behind the service line for his returns.
More of the same continued against Kevin Anderson in the third round and Feliciano Lopez in the quarters. The defending champion did not employ the tactic quite as much against Andy Murray during semifinal action on Saturday, but the result was the same: another straight-set victory for Federer.
After blowing out Anderson 6-1, 6-1 and cruising past Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 6-4…
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