Novak Djokovic made history by becoming the first singles player to complete a clean sweep of Masters titles with a straight-sets defeat of Roger Federer in Cincinnati.
Djokovic had been runner-up five times in the prestigious hard-court event, but held off his old foe Federer, winning 6-4, 6-4 with a commanding display in the first meeting between the two since the 2016 Australian Open semi-final.
The Wimbledon champion served superbly and was relentless in another outstanding performance as he sealed a ‘Career Golden Masters’ on Sunday.
Djokovic snapped world No. 2’s Federer’s sequence of 100 consecutive holds in America’s Midwest to take the first set and fought back from a break down in the second to complete the full set of nine Masters crowns.
Seven-time champion Federer’s forehand was not firing on all cylinders and 10th seed Djokovic took advantage, making a big statement as he prepares to go in search of back-to-back grand slam titles at the US Open, beginning Monday, Aug. 27.
The moment @DjokerNole became the first ever winner of the Career Golden Masters. #CincyTennis pic.twitter.com/27n8EAOCxj
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) August 19, 2018
Djokovic applied the pressure in the opening game of the match, but second seed Federer saved two break points after being forced back as his rival found his range immediately.
The Serbian worked Federer from side to side and took the upper hand with a break for a 4-3 lead when the 20-time grand slam winner failed to make contact with a forehand.
Federer was given a warning after venting his fury following that rare air shot and Djokovic served out the set in 37 minutes after losing just four points on serve.
A double fault from Djokovic gifted Federer a 2-0 lead in the second, but he failed to consolidate, charging in to steer a forehand wide.
Djokovic was baffled when he was given a time violation warning following a changeover, but took that in his stride, a majestic forehand winner at full stretch putting him a break up at 4-3.
Federer was making too many errors and Djokovic refused to allow him a way back, the Swiss spraying a forehand wide under pressure after being pushed back to spark exuberant celebrations from 13-time major winner and history maker.