Federer back at no. 2

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Roger Federer won his first Shanghai Masters title with a straight sets victory over unseeded Gilles Simon in China yesterday.

The Swiss world No 3 beat the Frenchman 7-6, 7-6 but was quick to appreciate how fortunate he was to reach the final after saving five match points in his second-round clash with Leonardo Mayer.

‘I got very, very lucky,’ said Federer, referring to his escape against Mayer in which he made 57 unforced errors. ‘I know what a privilege it is to be here today.’

Federer leads the tour this season in match wins (61), wins against players in the top 10 (13) and final appearances (nine) and today he will leap Rafael Nadal to become world No 2 for the first time in more than a year.

‘The biggest concern was to be healthy this year,’ Federer said after winning his fourth title of the season.

‘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. I’m playing the way I was hoping I could play again.’

Federer didn’t play the cleanest match yesterday, though, even with the roof on the stadium closed due to the extremely windy conditions.

The 17-time major winner finished with 36 unforced errors to 21 winners, but he was the more aggressive player, constantly attacking the net behind crisp approach shots and forcing Simon to try to pass.

With just a handful of events to go until next month's season finale in London, Federer could still mathematically challenge Novak Djokovic to end the year as the world No.1. Federer, Djokovic, Nadal and Wawrinka are the only four qualifiers so far in the elite eight-man competitions, which begins on 9 November.