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By Rohit Sharma
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16 time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer takes on arch rival and Argentine superstar Juan Martin Del Potro to kick start his title defence at the 2011 Western and Southern Open, an ATP World Tour 1000 event being played here in Cincinnati, USA.
Federer is not only carrying an obscene amount of pain from the loss handed by del Potro in the previous two encounters, he is also hoping to settle scores with the man who has deprived him wins in two very big tournaments of the 2009 season, the US Open and Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. Clearly disturbed by a low title tally count and a literal 'flop show' this year, Federer's only solace came on the red clay where he managed to beat an undefeated Novak Djokovic and reached the final as well. Federer is in a stage of his career where every tournament win will count multifolds and will also act as a bonus to what he has already achieved in the sport during his prime.
Federer's opponent today, Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro inarguably is one of the finest hardcourt players of his generation. After a return to winner's circle in Delray Beach from a year long injury hiatus, Del Potro found more success in Estoril to claim his second title of the season. Del Potro also made it to the fourth round of Wimbledon along with a semifinal appearance in Indian Wells.
Both players have contested eight matches already and Federer leads the head-to-heaad 6-2. Del Potro, who has wins from the last two encounters, will be looking forward to outclass the defending champion Federer for the third time in a row.
Roger Federer, however, has other plans. The Swiss maestro last collected the winner's silverware in Doha at the start of the year and is very keen on keeping the winner's trophy from Cincinnati in his personal showcase.
Federer is expected to come out a winner in this match, but only after three sets of gruelling struggle.
TennisEarth.com's Pick- Roger Federer in three closely contested sets.
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