Published: Mon, August 20, 2018
Sports | By Johanna Francis

Federer to meet Djokovic in Cincinnati final

Federer to meet Djokovic in Cincinnati final

Novak Djokovic, of Serbia, reacts after defeating Roger Federer, of Switzerland, during the finals at the Western & Southern Open tennis tournament, Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018, in Mason, Ohio.

Novak Djokovic qualified for his sixth Cincinnati Masters final when he edged out Marin Cilic, 6-4 3-6 6-3, in an afternoon semi-final on Saturday.

He was not at his best in a match that stretched for two hours and 32 minutes but came through on the big points.

The Belgian withdrew after one set of their semi-final clash due to injury after Federer had claimed the first 7-6 with the second tied at 1-1.

Djokovic leads in head-to-head title matches 11-6 and the overall series 23-22.

Federer will be going for his eight Western & Southern Open title 28 Masters 1000 title, and 99 career title.

"It would be the greatest challenge in Cincinnati, without a doubt, because he's been dominating this tournament historically", Djokovic said. With the win, Djokovic would be the first man to win had won every Masters 1000 title, something that neither Federer nor Nadal have done.

"I just think in general here in Cincinnati you've got to win the big points", said Federer. "Obviously, this time I'm hoping I get my hands on the trophy".

Federer, a seven-time champion at the event, was not unhappy to get a quick win. Three of those wins came over Djokovic, who is 0-5 in Cincinnati deciders.

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A match that started with a low key atmosphere developed into a cracking affair when Federer took the second set tiebreak as lightning reverberated near the stadium. "Aside from the service game that I dropped after I broke him, the whole set went pretty well".

The two tennis greats haven't faced each other in two years because of injuries and time off the circuit.

"David would never pull the plug unless he had to", Federer said in an on-court interview.

In women's third-round action, reigning US Open champion Sloane Stephens was eliminated while Madison Keys, runner-up at Flushing Meadows previous year, moved on.

Today she'll try again against Dutch outsider Kiki Bertens, who will be playing her third final of the season after wearing down a tiring Petra Kvitova 3-6, 6-4, 6-2. Like Djokovic, she's never won the title, losing both of her chances, including the title match past year to Garbine Muguruza.

"I didn't really serve well, but luckily I did have good second serve, which was very important for me to put it back to the court and play some rallies", Kvitova said.

"I have a lot of respect for him [but] I'm excited to be in another final in Cincinnati". "Just a few points decided the victor".

Officials called a halt to a frustrating day on which Roger Federer was never able to take the court for his third-round match against Leonardo Mayer.

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