Roger Federer finally won the Shanghai Rolex Masters title that had been eluding him since the inception of the tournament. Facing him was a determined Frenchman Gilles Simon, who was not found wanting. He gave Federer a run for his money in the match and looked like winning the final at times. Both sets of the match went to tie-breaks and Federer needed a bit of hard work before he could overcome the feisty Simon 7-6, 7-6. When the Emirates ATP Rankings are officially announced on Monday, Federer will end up as No.2 behind Novak Djokovic. Not only that, if Federer could win some more ATP matches during the year, he could even end up as the World No.1 player by year end. The 33-year-old Federer won his fourth title of 2014 season and his second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 after the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.
After his semifinal match against Novak Djokovic on Saturday, Roger Federer spoke to the media. He had just produced a fine display of superior tennis against world’s No.1 player and the Swiss was brimming with confidence and a new-found optimism. When asked about the upcoming final against Frenchman Gilles Simon, his own words to one interviewer were; “I am not going to come into that match and play terrible. It just won’t happen – not in the finals, not against Simon. That’s the confidence I have right now.”
The script, however, deviated a bit on Sunday. The determined Simon didn’t play in Federer’s hands. He had his own mind, a vastly improved game and a rock-solid determination. Simon had nothing to lose and he went after the great Swiss with a vengeance. Federer helped Simon by committing three unforced errors and allowed Simon to break his serve in the first game of the final match. The champion however rallied from 3-5 down to draw level. In the 12th game of the first set, Simon trailed 5-6, 15/40, on his serve. But the Frenchman had his reserves as he brought out some wonderful shots and forced a tie-break. Federer led 5-3 in the tie-break but the fighting Simon came back in the set by winning three straight points to lead 6-5. But since the set-point was earned in Federer’s service game in the tie-break, Simon couldn’t control the proceedings. Federer made no mistake with his service and took the first set tie-break. Simon had to leave the court for a medical timeout but when he came back, he began frustrating Federer yet again in the second set. He saved a break point in the third game and another in the seventh. At one point Simon led 40/15 on Federer’s service game at 5-6. When the second set also went to the tie-break, the Swiss began dictating terms. He raced to a 6-2 lead and never looked back. Federer converted the first match point that he got and finished the duel in an hour and 53 minutes.
Federer, who had almost lost the match against the Argentinian Leonardo Mayer in the second round, finally came through after saving 5 match points, he played much better tennis in subsequent rounds and proved his mettle against Djokovic on Saturday. Though the Swiss played a highly strung match against Gilles Simon, he still emerged victorious. He said later that the tournament meant a lot to him and winning had a prestige value attached to it.
Like Federer, Bob and Mike Bryan also won the doubles final for the first time in Shanghai. The World’s most celebrated combination of players won the title by beating Frenchmen Julien Benneteau and Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-2, 7-6. In a meeting between the winners of 2014 US open and 2014 French open, the Bryan brother prevailed in the second set tie-break after easily winning the first set 6-2. The phenomenal American brothers have now won all 10 Masters 1000 titles. It also includes Hamburg, which has since ceased to be a Masters tournament.
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