Top seeds Djokovic, Fed­erer go through to Cincy semis

The China Post - - SPORTS -

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic brushed aside Switzer­land’s Stan Wawrinka in straight sets to ad­vance to the semi­fi­nals of the ATP and WTA Cincinnati Mas­ters Fri­day.

The top-seeded Serb breezed past Wawrinka with lit­tle dif­fi­culty in just over an hour, win­ning 6-4, 6-1 to avenge his de­feat to the Swiss in the French Open fi­nal.

Djokovic will face Ukrainian qual­i­fier Alexandr Dol­go­polov, who up­set Czech sixth seed To­mas Berdych 6-4, 6-2. The Serb owns a 4-0 record in that se­ries, most re­cently win­ning in Mi­ami five months ago.

Be­fore this week, Dol­go­polov had lost all four of his pre­vi­ous matches at the pre-U.S. Open event.

Six-time win­ner Roger Fed­erer crushed Spain’s Feli­ciano Lopez 6-3, 6-4, earn­ing a 12th straight win with­out a loss in that se­ries.

The sec­ond seed lost just four points on serve in the open­ing set as he steam­rolls through his matches in what will be his lone tune-up for the Open which be­gins a week from Mon­day.

The de­fend­ing cham­pion Fed­erer, who is chas­ing a fifth tro­phy this sea­son, im­proved to 43-7 on the sea­son af­ter a min­i­mal 61-minute sweep.

“I’m very happy with how I got out of the blocks again,” said Fed­erer, who last played in the Wim­ble­don fi­nal. “I wasn’t sure how I’d come back from va­ca­tion and train­ing. I’m pleased with how I’m play­ing.

“I’m play­ing great ten­nis and I’m feel­ing good, feel­ing healthy and en­joy­ing my­self. That’s im­por­tant at this point of my ca­reer.

“I feel bet­ter at the net than I ever have and I hope to keep that up. I want to win the U.S. Open again but I still have work to get done here.”

Mur­ray Ral­lies

The UK’s third seed Andy Mur­ray ral­lied af­ter los­ing the first set to Richard Gas­quet, turn­ing the tide for a 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 win.

Mur­ray, who is try­ing to back up last week’s Mon­treal ti­tle with his third in Cincinnati, fired 35 win­ners and broke four times in just over two hours against his French op­po­nent.

The Scot ad­mit­ted that his stamina is run­ning low.

“I’m ob­vi­ously tired, I’ve played a lot of matches, a lot of late nights. My re­cov­ery hasn’t been per­fect ei­ther.

“I’m just happy I man­aged to fight through a lot of tough matches, dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tions, and hope­fully that will stand me in good stead for the U.S. Open.”

World No. 1 Djokovic im­proved to 18-4 over Wawrinka.

“It was the best per­for­mance I had so far this week. It came at the right time against one of my big­gest ri­vals and the guy I lost to last time we played in the fi­nals of French Open,” said Djokovic.

“Ob­vi­ously I ap­proached this match very se­ri­ously in try­ing to pre­pare my­self and get my­self in a good po­si­tion to win. That’s what I have done.”

Djokovic is on a mis­sion to fi­nally win Cincinnati and be­come the first player in history to com­plete a matched set of all nine Mas­ters 1000 tro­phies.

He has lost four fi­nals here, two apiece to Mur­ray and Fed­erer.

De­fend­ing cham­pion Ser­ena Wil­liams swept the last six games to over­haul Ana Ivanovic 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 in a re­peat of the 2014 fi­nal won by the Amer­i­can. Her next op­po­nent will be Ukrainian 14th seed Elina Svi­tolina, who up­set Roland Gar­ros fi­nal­ist Lu­cie Sa­farova 6-4, 2-6, 6-0.

Wil­liams said that af­ter play­ing on the back foot in the first set, she raised her game to post her ninth vic­tory in 10 meet­ings over the for­mer Roland Gar­ros cham­pion from Ser­bia.

“I was lethar­gic in the first set and she played in­cred­i­bly well. I just had to do bet­ter.

“This was my best per­for­mance since ( win­ning) Wim­ble­don. I hope to take the mo­men­tum into the next match.”

Third seed Simona Halep beat Anna Sch­miedlova 7-6 (7/3), 6-2 while for­mer cham­pion Je­lena Jankovic de­feated Anas­ta­sia Pav­lyuchenkova 6-4, 6-2 to com­plete the women’s semi­fi­nal line.

Halep can over­take Maria Shara­pova on sec­ond in the rank­ings if she reaches the fi­nal.

AP

Simona Halep, of Ro­ma­nia, re­acts af­ter de­feat­ing Anas­ta­sia Pav­lyuchenkova, of Rus­sia, in a quar­ter­fi­nal at the Western & South­ern Open ten­nis tour­na­ment in Ma­son, Ohio, Fri­day, Aug. 21.

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