Cincinnati - Roger Federer won his 80th career title and sixth at the Cincinnati Masters, beating David Ferrer 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 to cast himself as a title favourite for the US Open.
The Swiss now goes into the final Grand Slam of the season in eight days as a legitimate threat after reaching the final last week in Toronto and now claiming his 16th win without a loss against Ferrer over an 11-year span.
The world number three is unbeaten in six finals at the Midwest venue, also winning the tournament in 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2012.
Federer owns three titles this season (Dubai and Halle) and he ran his career title total to 80 from 121 finals. He increased his match-win lead this season on the ATP to 49 victories, with Rafael Nadal trailing second on 44.
The 33-year-old Swiss won his 22nd Masters 1000 trophy, standing second to Nadal (27) in that category.
Federer, who has played Cincinnati for a decade and a half, was glad to finally win his biggest title since Cincinnati in 2012 and Wimbledon that same summer.
The father of two sets of twins joked that it was about time he brought his brood a substantial trophy to play with.
"I finally got a big trophy for kids," he said on Sunday. "I've been bringing home some smaller ones. I keep telling them they are still trophies, but this one should satisfy them."
Federer ran away with the opening set but suffered a lapse in the second as Ferrer took it to 5-0 and needed three set points to finally level at one set each.
But after a rare visit to the locker room after losing the second, Federer stormed back to take the match by the neck, breaking for 3-1 in the third and putting his Spanish opponent under pressure as Ferrer saved four set points to hold for 2-4.
It was only a matter of time as Federer's shot making began to tell. The second seed won a love game for a 5-2 margin before breaking Ferrer for the final time to earn victory.
"I made the final," said the good-natured Ferrer, winner of one Masters title. "But I can never beat Roger, he's too much for me.
"I'm still lucky to be playing with the best in the world. Roger deserved to win the title."