third win MASON, Ohio (AP): Roger Federer jutted his right index finger toward the summer-blue sky to celebrate his latest Cincinnati title. He would have needed both hands to count all of them. Might as well just rename it the Federer Open. Or maybe subtitle it the Djokovic Heartbreak. Federer remained perfect in Cincinnati finals, winning an unprecedented seventh championship yesterday, while denying Novak Djokovic the one title that always eludes him. Federer never faced a break point during a 7-6 (1), 6-3 victory at the Western and Southern Open. Serena Williams got her name on the Rookwood trophy for the second time, beating third-seeded Simona Halep 6-3, 7-6 (5) for back-to-back Cincinnati titles. She heads off to the US Open trying to become the first player since Steffi Graf in 1988 to pull off a calendar Grand Slam sweep. “I’m ready,” Williams said. “I don’t care if I win or lose or break-even. I’m ready to start it, get it over with and be done, and go on to the next event, but I’m so ready for New York. Let’s go, right?” It took Williams six tries before she got her first Cincinnati title. Federer has never failed. The Swiss star is 7-0 in the finals, which always brings out the best in him. He loves the fast-playing courts and the small-town atmosphere in suburban Cincinnati heading into the big-city pressure of the US Open. “I don’t know how many years I can come back, but I’ll try my best to be here many more years to come,” Federer said. No surprise there. Federer is the undisputed king of this court. “He’s very good on this centre court,” Djokovic said. “He’s more confident each year.” By contrast, the world’s top-ranked player is 0-5 in Cincinnati championship matches, never winning so much as one set. Djokovic covets the title – the only one he needs to become the first to win all nine of the current ATP Masters events. “The fifth time I’ve been in the title (match) and never won this title, so I guess I have to wait for Roger to retire,” Djokovic said. “I’ve been coming back each year wanting it more.”
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE A letter from President Bush lauded political developments in both Iraq and Afghanistan, praising the efforts of U.S. troops in helping Iraqis exercise the right to vote three times during 2005 and the people of Afghanistan to also cast ballots. “In the coming year, America will continue to stand beside these young democracies and lay the foundation of peace for our children and grandchildren,” Bush said. “We appreciate the brave men and women in uniform who protect our country and advance freedom around the world. We are grateful to their families for their support and sacrifice, and we pray for all those who have lost loved ones in freedom’s cause.” At Camp Victory near Baghdad’s airport, “American Idol 3” finalist Diana DeGarmo and other entertainers treated hundreds of U.S. servicemen and women to a New Year’s Eve show. Soldiers sat in the cold in front of a tan stage as DeGarmo pulled several on stage to dance. She was followed by comedian Reggie McFadden and country music singer Michael Peterson, who traveled with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on a six-nation holiday tour to thank the troops. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! BAGHDAD, Iraq – Bombings and shootings killed at least 20 people across Iraq on the final day of the year Saturday, while U.S. troops shivered in the cold during a performance by an “American Idol” singer as part of New Year’s Eve celebrations. The U.S. military also reported the death of an American soldier from wounds, bringing its death toll in Iraq for 2005 near 2004’s record level. Iraq’s electoral commission, meanwhile, repeated a call for political groups to remove from their candidate lists 90 former members of Saddam Hussein’s Baath party before the agency issues final results next week from the Dec. 15 parliamentary elections. Many Iraqis, particularly from the long oppressed Shiite Muslim majority and Kurdish communities, want to keep ex-Baathists out of the new government. Sunni Arabs, the backbone of Iraq’s insurgency, sees that as an attempt to deny their minority a role in politics.