World number three Roger Federer stamped himself as a big favourite for the US Open, after winning his sixth Cincinnati Masters title, beating Spaniard David Ferrer 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 in Mason on Sunday.
Federer made a flying start in his second consecutive Masters' final and raced away to a lead in the first set. Ferrer tried to rally back, but the former world number one saved four break points to clinch the opening set 6-3.
The 17-time major winner, after making a strong start, suffered a lapse in the second set, as Ferrer seized control and built a 5-0 lead before levelling the match.
Federer came out with all guns blazing in the decider, though, and broke to take a 3-1 lead over his Spanish opponent. The five-time US Open champion stretched his lead to 5-2 and eventually won the match, despite Ferrer's attempts at crawling back into the contest.
"I really thought I was feeling better again towards the end of the second set, like he felt better at the end of the first," said Federer. "I carried that over into the third and served great and was able to come up with some really good plays. Just overall I think I played a great match at the end."
This is Ferrer's second loss in as many weeks to Federer and 16th overall, with the Swiss defeating him in the Toronto Masters quarterfinals.
"He was better, but I was close," said Ferrer. "I am happy with my game these two weeks. I [reached the] quarterfinal in Toronto and final here, so I'm playing well every day."
The Swiss maestro is now heading into the US Open as a legitimate title threat to defending champion Rafael Nadal, who is nursing a wrist injury, and world number one Novak Djokovic, who crashed out in the third round.
"Especially now I come in with great confidence," Federer said. "I can really rest now, rather than having to work on stuff, so it's just about maintaining. That's also really good for the mind... I know my game is where I want it to be. It's about just keeping that level up right now."
Federer had a good week in Mason as he defeated the likes of Gael Monfils, Andy Murray and Milos Raonic on his way to the final. He maintained his 100 percent record over Ferrer and also ended his four-match losing streak in ATP 1000 finals.
"I'm very happy about the week," said Federer. "Just overall it went from good to great. Just really pleased that I was able to back up a tough week last week already."