On Sunday, top-seeded Roger Federer took the title at ATP Istanbul Open by defeating third-seeded Pablo Cuevas 6-3, 7-6 (11). He also ended his three-year clay title drought, while this Sunday’s win was the first red-clay title in more than five years and his 85th career crown.
The world’s number two defeated Cuevas of Uruguay in a superb and elegant performance especially after the second set tie break. Federer’s agility and forceful play outpaced his rival’s defense and pulled off victory in one hour and 26 minutes. Cuevas needed two timeouts to treat his wrist injury.
Federer acknowledged after the game that it had been a while since he last saw a title on clay. He also said that it was a pleasant experience to play in Istanbul, while he described his game as both a psychical test and mental test.
Federer noted that last week’s four matches were really tough, but the last one was also his best one. He was also happy with his cultural experience in Turkey, where he could visit Istanbul a little, meet a lot of interesting people, and enjoy his fans’ extensive support.
“I’m very happy. I’m very proud to be the first champion here at the first-time tournament here in Istanbul,”
After the match, he also looked more confident and determined to win the 2015 French Open.
Federer last won a clay title in 2012, when he played on blue clay in Spain, while his last red clay title dates back to 2009’s French Open.
Additionally, Turkish fans gave the Swiss a warm welcome in their country’s capital city. Many of them showed their support by chanting his name and displaying court banners that read ‘Welcome to Turkey, King.’ It is the first time Federer visits Turkey.
In the first set, Cuevas was already 4-1 behind Federer in less than 25 minutes. Both players had a slower start due to an unexpected but brief rainfall before the match.
Federer looked fully rested and none of his previous weaknesses emerged. He managed to shoot seven aces and hit a 70 percent of his first serves.
On the other hand, after releasing a howl of frustration in the first set for missing a series of his opponent’s serves, Cuevas had to deal with an injured wrist and called two timeouts during which his trainer tried to get it fixed.
Despite the injury, Cuevas quickly rallied and started a defensive play from the baseline. Soon, he was getting even at 4-4 and hit three break points on his serve with his well-paced defensive tactics.
After winning the title in San Paolo three months ago, Cuevas hoped to win his second World Tour title. He said that he had hard times in facing Federer for at least two reasons – the Swiss’ play and a really hard time to stay focused. Despite this, the Uruguayan is confident that this match was a “very good experience” for him that would prove fruitful in the future. Federer praised Cuevas for “playing really well” and constantly pushing him into an aggressive stance.
Federer was awarded 80,000 Euros and 250 ATP ranking points, while Cuevas took home 42,100 Euros and 150 ranking points.
Image Source: CNN