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Federer defeats Ferrer in straight sets to win Masters Cup

SHANGHAI, China -- Top-ranked Roger Federer won his fourth
Masters Cup title in five years Sunday, overwhelming No. 6 David
Ferrer 6-2, 6-3, 6-2.

It was the third consecutive dominating performance by Federer,
who won his 53rd career title -- including eight this year -- and ran
his record against Ferrer to 8-0.

"It was a nice victory, especially proving it to myself and the
world, that I can do it over and over again," said Federer, who
collected $1.2 million and a new car for the win. "This is the
year-end tournament that only the best can make it to. For me to
win is a fantastic experience."

Federer also collected over $10 million this year -- a record
for the ATP Tour.

The Spaniard was no match for Federer's blend of spins, power
and volleying skills, managing only 10 winners to 38 unforced
errors as he was forced to try to do too much with Federer getting
everything back. Federer had 30 winners and 29 unforced errors.

Next up is an exhibition in Malaysia against Pete Sampras, who
holds the record of 14 Grand Slam titles that Federer is chasing.
The Swiss star will begin pursuit of No. 13 at the Australian Open.

Swiss fans in the chilly but packed 15,000-seat stadium said it
all with a banner reading, "Shhh! Quiet! Genius at work."

Federer faced a break point at 2-2, 30-40 in the first set, then
ran off 18 of the next 19 points. The streak also started a stretch
in which Federer won 30 of 33 service points through the end of the
second set.

It seemed that no matter how well Ferrer played, Federer was
just better, never giving up on a single shot, finding angles where
none seemed to exist and moving even better than usual. Ferrer,
constantly trying to pick on Federer's backhand, hit two amazing
winners while serving at 3-3 in the second set. Federer still broke
him.

While Ferrer was stunned, so was the generally pro-Federer
crowd. As they watched in awe, the fans slowly switched
allegiances, hoping Ferrer could make a match of it.

No chance.

"I surprise myself at times," Federer said. "I've always had
a tendency to all of a sudden go in streaks. Once you get on a
roll, it's so hard for the opponent to come back into it. I don't
allow them. I can mix it up and change it up. This is my big
strength. I hope I can keep that going for many more years to come,
obviously."

With Ferrer serving at 3-5, the normally placid Federer pumped
his fist after hitting a backhand crosscourt winner to end a long
rally. When he sent a backhand long on set point two games later,
Ferrer smashed his racket on the court, nearly breaking it in two.

Playing in his biggest-ever final and first Masters Cup, Ferrer
admitted he was a bit nervous -- and Federer made sure he never got
comfortable.

"I try to do my best. I fight," said Ferrer, who had been
undefeated in four matches, beating second-ranked Rafael Nadal,
third-ranked Novak Djokovic and No. 5 Andy Roddick along the way.
"But Federer, he's playing very, very well. He has no weak
point."

Ferrer got one last shot with three break points as Federer
served at 1-1 in the third set, but couldn't convert. Federer then
broke him the next game on a forehand passing shot on the run.

Serving at 2-5, Ferrer double-faulted at deuce, and Federer
finished it off with a forehand across court that went untouched.

Federer, who already clinched the world No. 1 race for the
fourth year in a row, lost his first round-robin match, then ran
off four in a row, looking sharper each match. He needed only 59
minutes to beat Nadal in the semifinals, a day after easily defeating
Roddick in straight sets. All matches were best of three
sets until the best-of-five final.

In the doubles final, top-seeded Mark Knowles of the Bahamas and
Daniel Nestor of Canada beat Simon Aspelin of Sweden and Julian
Knowle of Austria 6-2, 6-3. The world's top-ranked team of twins
Bob and Mike Bryan pulled out of the tournament because of Mike's
elbow injury, but hope to play when the U.S. faces Russia in the
Davis Cup final at the end of the month.

The Masters Cup will again be played in Shanghai in 2008. It
will move to London in 2009 for four years and be renamed the ATP
World Tour Finals.