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Timely victory boosts Federer ahead of U.S. Open

Federer was winning his first regular ATP Tour event of the season in Cincinnati.
Federer was winning his first regular ATP Tour event of the season in Cincinnati.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Roger Federer wins first tournament since claiming Australian Open
  • Federer beats Mardy Fish to win Cincinnati Masters in Ohio
  • Federer will be bidding for 17th grand slam title at U.S. Open in New York
  • Rafael Nadal will be top seed at Flushing Meadows with Federer ranked second

(CNN) -- Roger Federer will go into the final grand slam of the season at Flushing Meadows on the crest of a wave after claiming the Cincinnati Masters title on Sunday.

It was the first tournament victory for the former world number one since claiming the Australian Open title back in January, but he had to battle hard to get past American Mardy Fish in three sets 6-7 7-6 6-4.

"I've been playing well the past couple weeks, and today was just another proof that I'm playing really well," Federer told the official ATP Tour website.

"I had a tough moment staring at one set down and break point in the second set, but I hung tough and was able to come across the finish line faster than him," he added.

The Swiss maestro has bounced back to near his best form after the disappointment of losing to Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinals as he defended his Wimbledon crown.

I've been playing well the past couple weeks, and today was just another proof that I'm playing really well
--Roger Federer
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Federer gained a measure of revenge after beating Berdych in the last four at the Toronto Masters before losing to Britain's Andy Murray in a tight final.

It was his first tournament appearance for six weeks, but Federer says he is feeling confident on the North American hard courts as he builds up to the U.S. Open in New York.

"I have not lingering injuries, no problems whatsoever and feeling really healthy and fit which was not the case during the grass court season.

"That's a relief," added Federer, who will be bidding for his 17th grand slam crown next week.

Five of those crowns have come at the U.S. Open, a run interrupted by his defeat to Juan Martin Del Potro in last year's final.

Del Potro will not be able to defend his first grand slam success due to injury and Federer believes the title will be contested by the established order.

"The top four have the best shot again," he said.

"(Andy) Murray has proven himself on the hard courts, so has (Novak) Djokovic and so has Rafa.(Nadal)."

Beaten finalist Fish will also head to Flushing Meadow in good heart after showing outstanding form, having claimed titles in Newport and Atlanta earlier this summer.

"It's as well as I've played. I played well today; he played well today. It was a pretty high level, I thought, for the most part," said the American, who has risen to 21 in the latest world rankings.