Roger had it all the way

Roger Federer holds up the Rogers Cup after defeating Richard Gasquet at the Rexall Centre in...

Roger Federer holds up the Rogers Cup after defeating Richard Gasquet at the Rexall Centre in Toronto on Sunday. (Toronto Sun/Stan Behal)

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:09 AM ET

Hoisting his glistening crystal trophy into the air for all to see, a beaming Roger Federer couldn't help himself.

He had to make a pun about his newest prize.

"That sounds great ... Roger's Cup," said the world's No. 1 tennis player. "And I'm not joking, either. I like it."

For the record, the official name is the Rogers Cup.

But who was going to argue with the Swiss phenom?

At the rate he is going, Federer will scoop up almost every piece of hardware the sport has to offer by the time he has completed his career.

At the tender age of 25, Federer's assault on the tennis record book reached a new plateau yesterday when he won the Rogers Cup tournament by ousting valiant Frenchman Richard Gasquet 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 in front of a sun-drenched capacity throng at the Rexall Centre.

The victory gave Federer a perfect record of 62-0 against opponents not named Rafael Nadal this year. Nadal, the world's second-ranked player behind Federer, has handed the Swiss superstar his only four defeats of the season.

What truly makes Federer one of the all-time greats is his ability to triumph when not at his best, as was the case this week.

It reminds you of the way Tiger Woods often toys with other players down the stretch of a PGA tournament. Just when the field thinks it has a shot, Tiger will reel off consecutive birdies, squashing the hopes of his competitors in the process.

In that same manner, a struggling Federer managed to siphon the swagger out of Gasquet at a time when the young Frenchman appeared to be authoring an upset.

Gasquet, who entered the tournament as the world's 51st-ranked player, dominated the first set and jumped out to a 40-0 lead in the opening game of the second with Federer serving.

Facing triple-break point, Federer somehow came back to win the game in what both players considered to be the point in the match when the momentum changed.

"I couldn't believe I started the second so bad," Federer said. "At the same time, by being down 0-40, you can also take away his confidence by coming back and winning that game. Make him doubt himself, like that was maybe his big opportunity.

"That's exactly what happened. I mean he obviously had to pay a very hard price for that by not, in the end, winning the tournament. For me, that was the turning point."

Said Gasquet, 25: "He played wonderful on those break points. After that, it was difficult for me."

Throughout the week, it seemed as if Federer -- obviously lacking his 'A' game, managed to crank himself into high gear whenever things appeared bleak.

His final four matches in the tournament each went three sets. Every time it appeared the guy on the other side of the net had a shot to win, Federer found the will to prevail.

'FIGHTING LIKE CRAZY'

"I just have a very strong belief in my capabilities," said Federer, who pocketed $400,000 US for the victory. "You know, not showing my opponent how I feel while I'm fighting like crazy, even though it doesn't look that way.

"Maybe it's because I have such a relaxed style."

Given the fact he has won this event the past two times it has been held here, including 2004, relaxing in Toronto is something Federer might do more of in the future.

"I like it here. Maybe I'll vacation here one day," he said.

If he does, maybe he'll bring Roger's Cup with him.


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