Cincinnati Masters: Federer, Djokovic, Murray in Semis; Nadal crashes out
Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray reached the Semi Finals of the Cincinnati Masters, but it was disappointment yet again for former World No 1 Rafael Nadal as the Spaniard crashed out in the round of 16. Federer will take on Murray for a spot in the final while top seed Djokovic will be facing Alexandr Dolgopolov as he continues his quest for a
Career Golden Masters.
The Serbian overcame Stan Wawrinka comfortably 6-4, 6-1 in their first meeting since the French Open final. The Swiss had denied the World No 1’s dream of a Career Gland Slam at Roland Garros in May but looked completely out of sorts on Friday. Wawrinka had almost twice as many unforced errors (33) as Djokovic (16) who dropped just 12 points on serve in the match which lasted barely over an hour.
Djokovic broke Wawrinka in the ninth game of the opening set and then successfully served his to clinch the set 6-4 in 34 minutes. He set the tone for the rest of the match with another break of serve in the opening game of the second set. Wawrinka never recovered and lost his serve two more times as Djokovic clinched the set 6-1 and thereby the match.
"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 the French Open. I served very well for a set and a half. He obviously didn't play at his best level, but I felt like I was pretty solid from the back of the court and doing what I needed to do," Djokovic said, according to ATP’s official website.
He will take on Alexandr Dolgopolov in the semi-finals after the Ukranian pulled off an upset against sixth seed Tomas Berdych 6-4, 6-2.
No Federer vs Nadal
Roger Federer looked equally impressive as he notched up 26 winners, including eight aces, in his 6-3, 6-4 victory against Feliciano Lopez. The Swiss broke Lopez’s serve in the sixth game of the opener and accounted for 83% of the total service points in the set, winning the set comfortably 6-3.
The 34-year-old showed his class in the second set, trailing 2-3 and facing a break of serve at 0/40. Federer won five straight points to hold serve and immediately broke Lopez in the next game and closed out the match in 62 minutes.
Federer now has a 12-0 record against Lopez in ATP matches and shared a lighthearted moment with his opponent after the match. In response to Lopez’s remark that "You (Federer) were flying all over the court.," Federer quipped: "I have a few more years left in me."
Speaking about the match, he said: "I did feel good, especially in the first set. In the second set a little less maybe. It was also an important game to hold being down 0-40.”
Federer could well have faced another Spaniard in the form of long-time rival Rafael Nadal, but the 14-time Grand Slam champion’s inconsistent form continued. Lopez ousted Nadal after a grueling two hours and 24 minutes winning the match 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (3).
The match was a pretty close affair with Lopez just edging out Nadal in the total points won count, 98 to 97. It started off well for Nadal as he clinched the first set 7-5 making use of a triple break point opportunity at the second time of asking having failed to convert a similar chance with Lopez serving at 4-5.
Lopez broke early in the second set and held his serves to level the match and with the pair holding on to their respective serve in the decider, the match was decided by the tie-breaker which Lopez won 7-3.
Though disappointed with the result, Nadal was pleased with his performance.
“I was there during the whole match with the right intensity, with the right attitude, doing the things that I have to do, trying to be more aggressive, trying to go to the net more often,” Nadal said, according to ATP’s official website. “But today I played against an opponent that played a fantastic match. For me, it's a tough loss because I was playing better and my feelings on court were better than they were before.”
Completing the semi-final line-up was Andy Murray who battled back from a set down against Richard Gasquet as he won 4-6, 6-1, 6-4. The third seed was visibly feeling the effects of his three-hour long quarter-final clash against Grigor Dimitrov and lost the first set after Gasquet broke his serve in the ninth game.
Murray came roaring back however as he raced to a 5-0 lead, breaking Gasquet’s opening two serves. The Frenchman avoided a clean slate, but Murray clinched the set in just 31 minutes. The deciding set was a much closer affair though with the pair breaking each other early, but Gasquet’s crucial double fault at 4-4 handed the game to Murray who served for the match.