I got very, very lucky - Federer
SHANGHAI (AP): Shanghai Masters winner Roger Federer was so rusty in his first match back this week after a month-long break that he was close to packing his bags and heading home.
The Swiss star had racked up 57 unforced errors against Leonardo Mayer in the second round and fought off five match points before finally pulling through well after midnight.
Four days after his narrow escape, however, he captured his fourth title of the year with a 7-6 (6), 7-6 (2) win over France's Gilles Simon in yesterday's final.
"I got very, very lucky," Federer said. "I know what a privilege it is to be here today."
It's been a banner year for Federer despite the fact he's fallen just short at the majors, including a heart-breaking loss to Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final. Federer leads the tour this season in match wins (61), top-10 wins (13) and final appearances (nine). And today, he will leap past Rafael Nadal to No. 2 in the rankings for the first time in more than a year.
Though Djokovic is still far ahead in No. 1, Federer also got his third win of the year against the Serb in the semi-finals. He put on such a dominant display that Djokovic said in an unusually brief post-match news conference that it was the best Federer has ever played against him.
A year ago, it was a different story. Bothered by back problems, he fell to a number of lower-ranked players and only won one title.
"The biggest concern was to be healthy this year," Federer said. "That's something I'm just so pleased about, to see that the hard work I put in last year is paying off. Not only is it paying off, but I'm feeling good, I'm waking up normal. I'm not half broken like I was last year.
"I'm enjoying myself on the tennis court," he added. "I'm playing the way I was hoping I could play again."