Federer Wins Elusive Shanghai Crown & 23rd Masters 1000...
|Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on October 12, 2014 at 3:40 PM|
Roger Federer clinched his first title in Shanghai with victory over Gilles Simon...
Roger Federer claimed the elusive Shanghai Rolex Masters crown on Sunday as he won his 23rd ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title with a 7-6(6), 7-6(2) victory over Gilles Simon.
The Swiss will return to World No. 2 in the Emirates ATP Rankings on Monday and victory in Shanghai sees him close the gap on Novak Djokovic in the battle to finish year-end World No. 1.
The 33-year-old Federer captured his fourth title of the season and his second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown, having also triumphed at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati (d. Ferrer). Rafael Nadal is the all-time titles leader with 27 Masters 1000 trophies, but Federer leads the way with a 309-89 win-loss record in this category.
Federer had nearly been beaten at the first hurdle in Shanghai. Returning after a three-week break, the Swiss was forced to save five match points against Leonardo Mayer in a dramatic second-round contest at the Qi Zhong Tennis Center.
"It makes me very happy winning here because this tournament means a lot to me," said Federer. "I've always enjoyed coming here. I've come close a couple of times, but I've always wanted to win it as a Masters 1000.
"I feel unbelievable prestige to win this event. Especially putting my hands on the trophy for the first time is a good feeling, I must say. I'm very happy with the way I'm playing. Overall I'm just extremely happy right now."
After a stellar performance to beat Djokovic in Saturday’s semi-finals, Federer vowed he would not suffer a letdown against Simon, but struggled early on. The Swiss contributed three unforced errors as Simon broke his serve in the first game of the final, but rallied from 3-5 down to draw level in the opener. Federer was denied two set points as Simon trailed 5-6, 15/40, as the Frenchman dug deep to force a tie-break.
Federer then relinquished a 5-3 lead in the tie-break as Simon fought back to earn a set point at 6-5. Federer quickly dispelled the danger with two unreturned serves, and clinched his third set point chance with a backhand pass up the line.
Simon left the court for a medical timeout on his injured groin at the end of the first set, but returned to frustrate Federer once more in the second set. The Frenchman denied Federer on chance after chance, saving two break points in the third game and another in the seventh game.
The right-hander then had the chance to force a decider as he drew a backhand error from Federer to lead 40/15 on the Swiss’ serve at 5-6. Two forehand errors from Simon granted Federer a reprieve on the set points, though, and the Basel native made sure he capitalised on his momentum. He opened up a 6-2 lead in the tie-break and converted his first match point as Simon netted his shot after one hour and 53 minutes. The match was played under a closed roof due to high winds in Shanghai.
Federer earned 1000 Emirates ATP Rankings points and $798,540 in prize money as he improved to a 5-2 lead over Simon in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.
The 29-year-old Simon was bidding to win his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown, having finished runner-up to Andy Murray in his first final six years ago in Madrid, when the event was held on indoor hard. After returning to the Top 30 in the Emirates ATP Rankings this week after a semi-final showing in Tokyo (l. to Raonic), former World No. 6 Simon is now projected to climb back into the Top 20 at No. 19 on Monday.
"He was just more opportunistic," said Simon. "We had a close match. I had a set point in the first, two in the second. It's just a few points deciding it, and he was always really good on these points. He played some great shots.
"He's putting a lot of pressure. He's always showing you that he is ready to be really aggressive on every shot. So he keeps you under pressure."