Federer outplays Blake in Masters Cup

Shanghai, November 19:

Roger Federer overwhelmed James Blake, claiming his third Masters Cup title 6-0, 6-3, 6-4 in final. Top-ranked Federer rounded off another dominating season with 12 titles from the 17 tournaments he contested and $8.34 million in prize money for 2006. He earned $1.52 million for his unbeaten run at the season-ending championship in Shanghai.

Blake beat No 2 Rafael Nadal and No 3 Nikolay Davydenko in the round-robin phase and ousted defending champion David Nalbandian in the semi-finals, but was no match for Federer. The 26-year-old American was the last to qualify for the elite eight-man draw but will finish the year at a career-high No 4.

Getting behind the underdog in a lopsided match, the crowd cheered raucously for Blake’s points, even those off Federer’s errors. Federer was broken for the only time when serving for the match at 5-2 in the third.

He served out at love the next time, setting up triple match point with a backhand down the line and clinching it with a powerful serve. It was Federer’s 29th consecutive win, improving him to 92-5 for the year.

Jonas Bjorkman and Max Mirnyi combined for their first Masters Cup doubles title, extending a drought for Mark Knowles and Daniel Nestor. Bjorkman and Mirnyi broke third-ranked Knowles and Nestor twice in the first set and once in the second for a 6-2, 6-4 victory.