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Awesome Federer seals Masters title

Mark Knowles and Daniel Nestor win doubles crown

— Photo: AFP

INCREDIBLE FEAT: Roger Federer collected his fourth Masters Cup title thrashing David Ferrer in the final.

SHANGHAI: Roger Federer was asked what advice he would offer if he were coaching another player getting ready to face him.

“Don’t even try, pal,” the top-ranked Swiss star said. “You’re probably not going to win.”

While Federer was quick to say he was joking, it is pretty accurate right now.

Federer won his fourth Masters Cup title in five years on Sunday, overwhelming No. 6 David Ferrer 6-2, 6-3, 6-2. But it wasn’t just that he dominated a fourth consecutive top-five opponent, it was how he did it as he showed that the gap between him and the rest of the men’s field is as big as ever.

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Against Ferrer, known as one of the quickest and best defensive players, Federer was cat-quick in tracking down shots that would have been winners against almost anyone else, never giving up on a point, and mixing in some good offence, too.

It was similar in the semifinals against second-ranked Rafael Nadal, his defensive-minded rival who succumbed in just 59 minutes. And hard-serving No. 5 Andy Roddick could only watch in frustration as Federer landed 83 per cent of his own first serves and yielded just two games in two sets.

“He’s playing very, very well,” Ferrer said in a bit of an understatement. “He has no weak point.”

“It was a nice victory, especially proving it, to myself and the world, that I can do it over and over again,” said Federer, who collected $1.2 million (euro820,000) and a new car for his 53rd career title, including eight this year. “This is the year-end tournament that only the best can make it to.

“I practised hard to get (to) this level. So when it all comes together in a finals like today against Ferrer, it’s fantastic.”

Fantastic indeed. About the only thing that Federer did wrong was continue his poor judgment in challenging line calls.

The Spanish contingent in the chilly but packed 15,000-seat stadium included about two dozen boisterous fans dressed in the red-and-gold national colours. A trumpet player led chants to encourage Ferrer, but should have been playing “Taps” instead as Federer ran his record against the Spaniard to 8-0.

Genius at work

Ferrer was simply no match for Federer’s blend of spins, power and volleying skills, forced to try to do too much with his opponent getting everything back. Swiss fans said it all with a banner reading, “Shhh! Quiet! Genius at work.”

Playing in his biggest-ever final and first Masters Cup, Ferrer admitted he was a bit nervous — and Federer made sure he never got comfortable.

Federer faced a break point at 2-2, 30-40 in the first set, then ran off 18 of the next 19 points. The streak also started a stretch in which Federer won 30 of 33 service points through the end of the second set.

“I surprise myself at times,” said the 26-year-old Federer, who hopes to play until he’s 35. “I’ve always had a tendency to all of a sudden go in streaks. Once you get on a roll, it’s so hard for the opponent to come back into it. I don’t allow them. I can mix it up and change it up. This is my big strength. I hope I can keep that going for many more years to come, obviously.”

Comfortable win

In the doubles final, top-seeded Mark Knowles of the Bahamas and Daniel Nestor of Canada beat Simon Aspelin of Sweden and Julian Knowle of Austria 6-2, 6-3.

The world’s top-ranked team of twins Bob and Mike Bryan pulled out of the tournament because of an elbow injury to Mike but hope to play when the U.S. faces Russia in the Davis Cup final at the end of the month.

The results (finals): Singles: Roger Federer bt David Ferrer 6-2, 6-3, 6-2. Doubles: Mark Knowles/ Daniel Nestor bt Simon Aspelin/ Julian Knowle 6-2, 6-3. — Agencies

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