Montreal: August 6-12

August 13, 2006 05:29 PM

Toronto, Canada (AP) -- Roger Federer won his second Rogers Cup in three years Sunday, recovering in the second set and rallying past Richard Gasquet 2-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Federer won the event when it was last played in Toronto in 2004 but didn't defend the title last year. The top-ranked Swiss captured his 40th career title, 11th in the Masters Series. He also won his 54th straight match in North America -- and his ninth championship there -- since 2004.

"I couldn't believe I started the second set so bad,'' Federer said.

Federer improved his match record to 62-4 this year -- his only losses to Rafael Nadal. He's also reached the final of his last 17 tournaments since June 2005, one shy of matching Ivan Lendl's Open era record of 18 in 1981-82. Federer will defend his title next week in the Cincinnati Masters.

Gasquet, unseeded, was trying to become the first French champ in the tournament's 125-year history. Federer lost to Gasquet last year in Monte Carlo but has since won five straight against him, including four this year.

Gasquet started well by breaking twice to take the first set. Federer then started the second set 0-40 on serve but came back to hold and break in the next game. He soon led 3-0 and was on his way.

"That's the key moment of the match,'' Federer said. "But at the same time by giving yourself a love-40 you can also take away his confidence by coming back in that game and winning that game. Make him start doubting himself like that was maybe his big opportunity."

Gasquet agreed it was his big chance.

"I know with Roger, when you have some chances you have to do it,'' Gasquet said.

Federer broke Gasquet at 2-2 in the deciding set and that seemed to sap the 20-year-old Frenchman, who was broken again in his next service game. Federer had no trouble after that. He raised his arms and smiled at the crowd when he closed the match in 1 hour, 47 minutes.

Gasquet took advantage of uncharacteristic mistakes in the opening set. Federer had a quick turnaround after Saturday night's semifinal win and looked as if he had a hard time getting used to Gasquet's pace and spin. Federer's footwork appeared off, leading to shanked balls and other mistakes.

Gasquet came out hard in the second set, pushing Federer to a triple-break point in the opening game. But that seemed to fire up Federer, who fought back to deuce before holding serve. In the next game, Gasquet double-faulted at deuce, and Federer took advantage to break and go up 2-0.

Gasquet wowed the crowd of about 10,000 in the third game. He ran from the net past the baseline to make a backhand flip return, with his back to the net. But Federer was waiting, and he sent Gasquet running deep to the other corner before putting that return away.