Evergreen artiste of the court Roger Federer’s odds for US Open triumph are the trimmest they’ve been all term on the back of his conquest of the Cincinnati Masters.
And not just because it has been confirmed that Rafael Nadal will miss the tournament through injury.
Since bidding the season’s lawn segment adieu he’s posted nine wins in ten hard court outings and is now as short as 3/1 to land the slam he won for five consecutive years between 2004 and 2008 once more in 2014.
It easy to see why, as the Swiss maestro swept aside Gael Monfils, Andy Murray, Milos Raonic and David Ferrer on the way to the winner’s cheque in the City once known as ‘Porkopolis’ due to it’s status as the nation’s foremost pig packer.
However, those value hounds whose noses are all a’twitch with the scent of the 5/4 about Novak Djokovic landing just his second Flushing Meadows Slam needn’t be overly perturbed.
Federer bulldozed his way through ‘Cincy’ in the summer of 2012 too, taking out countryman Stanislas Wawrinka en route to a victory over none other than our friend Nole in the decider.
Yet when it came to Queens, the debonair Swiss was swept from the board by Tomas Berdych in four sets at the quarter-final stage.
Despite his Ohio KO at Federer’s hands, Djokovic went on to reach the third of his four consecutive finals at that year’s US Open.
Cincinnati remains an oddly elusive tournament for the Serb, for whom it remains the only Masters-level tournament missing from his mantelpiece.
Some ten visits to the Western & Southern Open have now been and gone without Djokovic being able to land the prize.
Concerns over his lack of pre-US Open form are genuine, with the world numero uno admitting “I’m not playing even close to what I’m supposed to play.”
However, let us not forget that the Serb carried a wrist injury into Wimbledon this year.
Ultimately he dug deep to produce the kind of tennis capable of coaxing a single tear from Federer in the wake of his victory in a five-set final at the All England Club.