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Cincy Final is Fed v Joker: what's on the line?

Looking beyond tomorrow's result


August 18, 2012 | 04:59 PM

Fed v. Joker: Looking beyond tomorrow's result

When these two play for the Cincy title tomorrow (12:30 on CBS), in their 28th meeting (21st on hard surfaces), they will bring their best games to a meaningful title (it would be Roger's 5th, Joker's ??? ) and the winner will be the favorite going into the Open. Neither man has lost his serve in Cincy (a very fast hard court), and though Fed hasn't beaten him on an outdoor hard surface in 2 years, he is even money to win this one.

Who has more on the line here?

For FED, win or lose here, he will gain enough points this week in the rankings to stay ahead of Joker: defending only 180 points in Cincy, as runner-up Rog would gain 420 points to the 400 Joker would gain by winning (he was runner-up to Murray last year).

Even if Joker were to win Cincy and the Open, where he is defending 2000 points as the title holder, if Fed were to get to the Open final he'd gain another 480 points on Joker.

If Fed wins Cincy and the Open, he will be end the year #1 regardless of what else Joker does.

So in terms of ranking points, there's a lot on the line here for Joker, as there is at the Open.

After the Open, the shoe is on the other foot: Joker is defending only 360 points to Roger's 1500 (he won Basel and paris before barclay's, where points do not carry over to be defended but count for the year end ranking).

As far as their H2H goes, the two men are so close that this match will decide nothing. At most, winning here for either man will put a little more pressure on the other. And at their level, if that pressure were worth one point or even one shot in an Open final, it could mean the difference between winning and losing, and decide the #1 ranking. Or not.

In any event, this match is likely to showcase some brilliant tennis without too much on the line. Odds are, whoever wins the Open will end up #1.

SEMI-FINAL RECAPS (MEN)

Fed v Wawrinka

Stan is once again playing like a top 10 player more than a #30, as Brad Gilbert pointed out. While Fed served relatively poorly in the 1st set (only 46% first serves), he played well enough to avoid even a single break point for a 3rd set in a row. And while Stan served huge (140mph by the end of the set), it was barely enough to fight off 7 break points in the 1st, including coming from down 0-40 at 4-5. But at 2-3 in the breaker, Fed turned a point around with a deep return to get a mini-break, in a carbon copy of last night's breaker, he finished the set on the opponent's serve at 4-6. Like last night again, the other set was decided by two breaks, 6-3.

Joker broke a hurting Del Potro (left wrist) three times to win 6-3, 6-2, but faced 6 break points himself.

Rick

Cincy Men 8.18.12


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