Novak Djokovic’s dominant win over Roger Federer in the Cincinnati final created a new record as the Serbian became the first man to win all nine of the ATP’s Masters 1000 tournaments.
But there’s another set of numbers he improved on that’s just as impressive.
Djokovic now holds a 24-22 all-time record against Federer – and that includes a stunning 12 wins from 18 meetings in finals.
Remarkably, Federer had won all three previous deciders in Cincinnati between the two men.
The Swiss maestro had cleaned house at three-year intervals – first In 2009, then in 2012 and 2015 – but this time Djokovic took home the trophy.
“It’s obviously a very special moment. First time I get to stand here with the winning trophy here in Cincinnati,” he said.
“Played five finals before and most of those finals I lost to this great man, Roger. Roger, thank you for your kind words and thank you for letting me win once in Cincinnati.
“Obviously it was a tough match for him today, he probably didn’t feel his best, but he’s a great champion and probably the best ever to play the game so it’s always a pleasure to share the court with you.”
The victory – and stopping Federer from drawing level on their head-to-head numbers – retained Djokovic’s exclusive hold on a key record among the ‘Big Four’, which also features Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray.
Djokovic is the only man to hold a positive win-loss record against all three rival members.
On top of his 24-22 record against Federer, Djokovic is 27-25 (14-10 in finals) against Nadal – and 25-11 (11-8 in finals) against Murray.
He is the only one of the three to hold a positive record over Nadal, who is 23-15 (14-10 in finals) against Federer and 17-7 (5-3 in finals) against Murray.
Federer, who is considered the greatest player of the generation but only owns a positive record against Murray, paid tribute to Djokovic after the Cincinnati final.
“Congratulations, Novak, on writing history today,” he said.
“Amazing effort not just this week, not just today, not just this week, but your whole career to get to this amazing achievement. You should be very proud. Well done.”
The victory was Djokovic’s first title on the ATP tour since June 2017 and comes six weeks after his surprise Wimbledon triumph.
The former world No.1 underwent an operation on his elbow to solve a long-standing issue with his troublesome joint.
“I went through a little bit of a rollercoaster ride in my career with injury and taking time off and having the surgery earlier this year,” he said.
“So this seems a bit unreal to be honest to be back at this level and winning Wimbledon and obviously Cincinnati for the first time.”
After defeating Grigor Dimitrov, Milos Raonic and Marin Cilic this week on his way to the final, Djokovic has confirmed himself as one of the favourites for the US Open.
The final grand slam of the year gets underway on August 27.