CINCINNATI, Ohio - Reigning US Open champion Novak Djokovic booked a semi-final date with Olympic bronze medalist Juan Martin del Potro by beating Marin Cilic on Friday at the ATP-WTA Cincinnati Masters.
Serb second seed Djokovic took only 80 minutes to dispatch the Croatian 6-3, 6-2, improving to 7-0 in their career rivalry having lost only one of 17 sets against him.
Argentine sixth seed Del Potro advanced to the rematch of the London Olympic bronze-medal match by ending the giant-killing run of Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 6-1, 6-3.
Del Potro has won his past two matches against Djokovic, including the bronze showdown and in a Davis Cup tie last September.
“The match with Del Potro won’t be for revenge,” Djokovic said. “This is sport. You win and you lose. He is playing with confidence and it will be a big challenge to play him.”
Djokovic is maintaining momentum after winning the Toronto Masters event last week. He advanced 6-0 on Thursday when injured Nikolay Davydenko retired and kept Cilic on the defensive in their quarter-final.
“It was a very good match, my best of the tournament,” Djokovic said. “I’m on good form. I may have grown up on clay, but I’ve achieved my best career success on hardcourts.”
Del Potro, who will travel to the Mayo Clinic next week to have his sore left wrist checked out by the same doctors who operated on his right wrist in 2010, has reached the last eight in seven of the nine ATP Masters 1000 events.
The South American ended the dream fortnight of 38th-ranked Chardy, who beat Games doubles silver medalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga last week in Toronto and put out singles gold winner Andy Murray at Cincinnati.
“I broke his serve very early, so that has given me confidence to still play, be healthy and relax and don’t think about my wrist,” Del Potro said.
“I’m in good level at the moment after the Olympics. I get confidence to play against all the players.”
Women finished up a pair of third-round matches delayed by bad weather with Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova beating former World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, the Danish sixth seed, 6-4, 6-4 and China’s Li Na downing Swede Johanna Larsson 6-2, 6-2.