Western & Southern Financial Group Masters
Djokovic Downs Nadal To Reach Cincy Final
by ATP Staff|
Novak Djokovic snapped a five-match losing streak against Rafael Nadal Saturday night, repeating his 2008 semi-final win over the Spaniard in Cincinnati to charge into the final of the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters for the second consecutive year. On Sunday Djokovic will face World No. 1 Roger Federer, who is chasing a 16th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title.
Unlike their most recent meeting – a four-hour grinder in the semi-finals of ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Madrid in May – Djokovic raced away with the first set in 29 minutes and then closed out the 6-1, 6-4 win in 91 minutes after facing just one break point in the match.
Nadal, playing just his second tournament back since Roland Garros as he battled knee tendinitis, fought valiantly in the second set to make the match a contest. He staved off three break points in the opening game of the second set, forced Djokovic to save a break point at 4-3 and then also took Djokovic to deuce in the final game of the match before his young rival served out just his fifth win in 19 meetings with Nadal.
"Obviously I have to be very pleased with the way I played," said Djokovic, who won 75 per cent of first-serves points. "This has been one of the best matches of the season so far. It came in the great moment just before the US Open. I was trying to be from the first point in the control of the match, be very aggressive, and take the chances on each shot or ball that I had. That's what I did. The serve was exceptionally well when it needed to be... I was aware that I will have to raise the level of my game tonight in order to win against Rafa. That's what I have to do tomorrow as well."
Djokovic said that he expected a different type of test against Federer in the final. "Rafa runs more and gives you more time to do the things maybe you like. With Roger, the points are shorter, so if he plays the way he was playing in most of the year so far, it's gonna be really difficult. He's gonna put a lot of pressure on my service games and he's gonna go to the net. As well as he played today, I hope we can have an interesting match tomorrow."
in the final Djokovic will attempt to claim his fifth different ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title, and complete his set of North American hard court shields, having previously won in Indian Wells, Miami and Canada.
Nadal paid credit to Djokovic, whose five victories over the left-hander have all come on North American hard courts. "He played really good with very good intensity during all the match. In the last games I think he decrease a little bit more than the rest,” Nadal said.
Nadal, who played a total of seven matches in Montreal and Cincinnati, losing only to genuine US Open contenders Juan Martin del Potro and Djokovic, said that he was happy with his preparation for the US Open, where he will attempt to complete the career Grand Slam and win his sixth major title. "It's another step. Physically and mentally it's difficult for me to be ready. But I think this match is gonna be a good experience for me right now to try to be in this step in the US Open.
"I expect to play really well and try to win. But tennis is difficult, and all the players are very close and gonna be really tough in one tournament like the US Open. Five sets, so we will see how I am physically to play the five set matches. These two weeks, winning three matches here and two matches there [Montreal], [playing] seven matches in total, so it's enough matches I think."