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Cincinnati Semi-Final Saturday Preview

Cincinnati, U.S.A.

Federer© Getty ImagesRoger Federer continues his quest for a sixth Cincinnati title.

• FINAL FOUR: The 56-man draw at the Western & Southern Open has been whittled down to just four players who clash today for a spot in Sunday’s final. Leading the way is five-time Cincinnati champion Roger Federer. The world No. 3 goes up against Milos Raonic for the sixth time having won all five of their previous meetings. The other semi-final sees David Ferrer and Julien Benneteau clash for the 10th time with their FedEx ATP Head2Head series tipped at 5-4 in the Spaniard’s favour.

• BIG FOUR DOMINANCE: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga’s win at the Rogers Cup marked just the fourth time in the last 40 ATP World Tour Masters 1000s that someone outside the Big Four of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Federer emerged victorious. For the second week in a row, Federer is the last member of the quartet left at the semi-final stage. Nadal, Federer and Murray have won eight of the past nine titles here. The only non-Big Four winner during that stretch was Roddick (2006).

Watch Friday Highlights

• 2014 MATCH-WINS LEADERS: Federer and Ferrer both feature among the Top-5 win leaders this year. The Swiss arrived at the US Open with 32 wins to his name last year – 15 fewer than he is guaranteed to enter with this season:

Player '14 Wins (Titles)
Roger Federer (SUI)
47 (2)
Rafael Nadal (ESP)
44 (4)
David Ferrer (ESP)
42 (1)
Marin Cilic (CRO)
40 (2)
Novak Djokovic (SRB)
39 (4)

• RAONIC AT THE MASTERS: Raonic is the only player this year to reach the quarter-finals or better at six ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events: Indian Wells (QF, l. to Dolgopolov), Miami (QF, l. to Nadal), Monte-Carlo (QF, l. to Wawrinka), Rome (SF, l. to Djokovic), Toronto (QF, l. to F Lopez) and Cincinnati (SF, vs. Federer). The only exception came in Madrid (3R, l. to Nishikori). The Canadian, who won a sixth title in Washington D.C. earlier this month, is looking to become the first player born in the 1990s to reach the final here. The 23 year old has been flying the flag for those born in the 90s in recent years, becoming the first to crack the Top 10 on August 12 last year. He’s aiming to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals for the first time. He’s No. 7 in the Emirates ATP Race to London standings.

• OLDEST OPEN ERA CHAMPS: The three 30-over players in the semi-finals – Federer (33), Ferrer (32) or Benneteau (32) – are trying to add their name to the list of oldest Cincinnati winners in the Open Era: Ken Rosewall (35 in 1970), Andre Agassi (34 in 2004) and Marty Riessen (32 in 1974).

DAY SEVEN FEDEX ATP HEAD 2 HEADS

CENTER COURT

[6] David Ferrer (ESP) vs Julien Benneteau (FRA)

FedEx Head2Head: Ferrer leads 5-4
2004 Roland Garros (France) Clay R64 J Benneteau 6-3 1-6 6-2 7-5
2005 Valencia (Spain) Clay R32 David Ferrer 6-4 6-1
2007 Marseille (France) Hard R16 J Benneteau 4-6 6-0 6-1
2007 ATP Masters Series Monte Carlo (Monaco) Clay R32 David Ferrer 6-1 7-5
2008 Auckland (New Zealand) Hard QF J Benneteau 6-4 6-0
2011 Roland Garros (France) Clay R64 David Ferrer 6-3 6-4 6-2
2012 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Miami Hard R32 David Ferrer 7-6(5) 6-4
2012 Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) Hard SF J Benneteau 6-4 6-1
2013 Valencia (Spain) Hard R16 David Ferrer 6-2 6-1

• Ferrer reached his 15th ATP Masters 1000 SF with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 victory over compatriot Tommy
Robredo. The Spaniard finished strongly to beat Mikhail Youzhny 7-5, 6-0 in the 3R after
squeezing past Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-7(4), 7-6(4), 7-6(4), saving 2 MPs, in his opening match.
• Ferrer is making his 11th appearance at the Western & Southern Open. He has reached the QF on
two previous visits, in 2006 (l. to Gonzalez) and 2007 (l. to Davydenko) but this is his 1st SF outing.
• Ferrer is looking to reach his seventh ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final and first since Paris last
November (l. to Djokovic). He’s also attempting to reach his 45th Tour-level final.
• Ferrer was one of nine ATP World Tour Masters 1000 winners to feature in the 56-man draw at the
start of the week. His lone title at this level came in Paris in November 2012 (d. Janowicz).
• Ferrer reached the QF in Toronto for the first time last week (l. to Federer), completing the full set
of QF appearances at all nine ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events. He has now reached the SF
or better at seven of the nine, with Indian Wells and Canada being the only exceptions.
• Ferrer clinched his 21st Tour title in Buenos Aires in February when he defeated Fabio Fognini in the final, ending a seven-match losing streak in finals. He also reached the final at the ATP 500 event in Hamburg last month, falling in a third-set tie-break to first-time winner Leonardo Mayer.
• Ferrer’s other standout performances this year came at the ATP Masters 1000 events in Monte-Carlo (l. to Wawrinka in SF) and Madrid (l. to Nishikori in SF). In Monte-Carlo, he defeated world No. 1 Nadal, which was his fifth career victory over a reigning world No. 1: vs Nadal (3 times), Djokovic and Agassi. He also became the fourth player to beat Nadal multiple times on clay.
• Ferrer reached his 10th consecutive Grand Slam QF at Roland Garros before falling to Nadal in four sets. His streak of final eight appearances at the majors came to an end at Wimbledon where he fell in the 2R to world No. 118 Andrey Kuznetsov in five sets.
• Ferrer finished the 2013 season at a year-end best No. 3 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. It was the third year in a row he finished inside the Top 5 and also the fourth straight year in which he won at least 55 matches. He played an ATP-high 84 matches during the season.
• Benneteau advanced to a maiden ATP Masters 1000 SF with a 1-6, 6-1, 6-2 defeat of world No. 4 Stan Wawrinka in 81 minutes. The Frenchman posted a 7-5, 6-1 victory over Jerzy Janowicz in the 3R after seeing off lucky loser Blaz Rola 6-7(7), 6-3, 7-6(7), saving 1 MP, in the 1R and qualifier James Ward 6-2, 6-2 in the 2R.  
• Benneteau is making his ninth appearance at the Western & Southern Open. The Frenchman’s previous best showing here came in 2009 when he reached the QF as a lucky loser (l. to Murray).
• Benneteau is the first Frenchman to reach the SF in Cincinnati since Arnaud Clement in 2000 (l. to Enqvist). The last French finalist/winner here was Guy Forget in 1991 (d. Sampras).
• Benneteau is the first unseeded semi-finalist here since Stan Wawrinka (l. to Federer) two years ago. The last unseeded finalist was Mardy Fish in 2010 (l. to Federer).
• Benneteau is also the first player to reach the S & D SFs here since Max Mirnyi in 2003 (lost both). The last player to reach both finals here was Stefan Edberg in 1993 (lost both).
• Benneteau is trying to register back-to-back Top 10 wins for the first time in his career.
• Benneteau is looking to reach his 10th Tour-level final and a first at an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event. Prior to this week, his best results at this level were QF appearances here in Cincinnati in 2009 (l. to Murray) and earlier this year in Indian Wells (l. to Djokovic).
• Benneteau will jump from No. 41 to around No. 27 in the Emirates ATP Rankings next week after reaching the SF. He’ll go to around No. 24 with a final appearance and around No. 16 with the title.
• Benneteau is 14-43 vs. Top 10 opponents and 2-2 this year. Along with his win over Wawrinka, he also beat No. 10 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga en route to the QF in Indian Wells (l. to Djokovic).
• Benneteau arrived in Ohio after a 3R appearance at the Rogers Cup (l. to Raonic).
• Benneteau teamed up with Edouard Roger-Vasselin to win the men’s doubles title at Roland Garros in May. They became the first French duo to win the title there since 1984.
• Benneteau ended 2013 at No. 35 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, his joint-highest finish to a season. He has played in 242 Tour-level events but has never lifted a title. The 32-year-old’s nine final appearances without a title is a record among active players.

[5] Milos Raonic (CAN) vs [2] Roger Federer (SUI)

FedEx Head2Head: Federer leads 5-0
2012 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Indian Wells Hard R32 Roger Federer 6-7(4) 6-2 6-4
2012 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Madrid Clay R32 Roger Federer 4-6 7-5 7-6(4)
2012 Halle (Germany) Grass QF Roger Federer 6-7(4) 6-4 7-6(3)
2013 Australian Open (Australia) Hard R16 Roger Federer 6-4 7-6(4) 6-2
2014 Wimbledon (Great Britain) Grass SF Roger Federer 6-4 6-4 6-4

• Raonic secured a place in his fourth SF of the season after a resounding 6-1, 6-0 victory over Fabio Fognini in two minutes short of one hour. He saved all seven BPs he faced. The Canadian outlasted Steve Johnson 6-7(7), 6-3, 7-6(4) in the 3R after breezing past Robby Ginepri 6-2, 6-2 in his opening match.
• Raonic leads the way in points won on first serve this week (91%, 94 of 103). He has saved eight of the nine BPs he has faced, holding in 30 of his 31 service games. He also tops the leaderboard in return games won, winning 39% (12 of 31).
• Raonic is making his third appearance at the Western & Southern Open. He reached the QF here on his debut in 2012 (l. to Wawrinka).
• Raonic is the first Canadian since Mike Belkin in 1969 to reach the Western & Southern Open SF.
• Raonic has now reached the QF or better at 10 of his 12 tournaments since returning from a left ankle injury in March. He’s the only player to have reached six ATP Masters 1000 QFs in 2014.
• Raonic is contesting the third ATP World Tour Masters 1000 SF of his career. He is bidding to reach his 12th Tour-level final and second at Masters 1000 level. His only previous title game experience at this level came on home soil in Montréal last year (l. to Nadal).
• Raonic clinched his sixth title and first at ATP 500 level in Washington D.C. earlier this month, defeating Vasek Pospisil in the first all-Canadian ATP World Tour final in the Open Era.
• Raonic became the first Canadian to surpass $2 million in a single season after his Citi Open title took him to $2,013,430 for the year.
• At Wimbledon, Raonic became the first Canadian to reach the SF of a Grand Slam in the Open Era (l. to Federer). He also reached the QF at Roland Garros (l. to Djokovic).
• Raonic rose to a career-high No. 6 in the Emirates ATP Rankings the week after Wimbledon.
• Raonic currently sits at No. 7 in the Race to London standings. He has never qualified for the year-end Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London.
• Raonic became the first player from his country and the first player born in the 1990s to crack the Top 10 when he broke through on August 12 last year. His year was highlighted by titles in San Jose, Bangkok and a maiden appearance in a Masters 1000 final in Montréal (l. to Nadal).
• Federer advanced to his 52nd ATP Masters 1000 SF with a 6-3, 7-5 victory over Andy Murray. He also leveled his FedEx H2H series with the Scot at 11-11.
• Federer needed three sets to get past Gael Monfils in the 3R, defeating the Frenchman 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 in one hour and 49 minutes. In the 2R, he became the first player to reach 300 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 wins when he overcame a second set blip to see off Vasek Pospisil 7-6(4), 5-7, 6-2.
• Federer returns to Cincinnati for the 14th time. Only Michael Chang has appeared here more often.
• Federer is bidding for his sixth Western & Southern Open crown this week. He was a champion here in 2005 (d. Roddick), 2007 (d. Blake), 2009 (d. Djokovic), 2010 (d. Fish) and 2012 (d. Djokovic). Last year, he fell in the QF to eventual champion Rafael Nadal.
• Federer is looking to reach his 121st career final (79-41) and 38th at Masters 100 level (21-16). He has reached seven Tour-level finals in 2014 alone (2-5).
• Federer is also hoping to advance to his sixth Western & Southern Open final (5-0). He has appeared in 6+ finals at six other tournaments: Basel (10; 5-5), Halle (9; 7-2), Wimbledon (9; 7-2), Barclays ATP World Tour Finals (8; 6-2), Dubai (8; 6-2) and US Open (6; 5-1).
• Federer is looking to bounce back this week after a final defeat to Tsonga at the Rogers Cup. The former world No. 1 saw off Spaniards David Ferrer and Feliciano Lopez in the QF and SF before falling to the Frenchman in his 120th Tour-level final.
• Federer turned 33 last Friday and is the oldest player to rank in the Top 3 in the Emirates ATP Rankings since Andre Agassi (33) was No. 1 on Sept. 1, 2003.
• At Wimbledon, Federer reached the final with wins over Stan Wawrinka and Milos Raonic (l. to Djokovic in 5 sets). The Swiss had been bidding to win his eighth crown at SW19.  
• Federer clinched the first of his two titles this season and 78th overall in Dubai in February (d. world No. 2 Djokovic in SF and No. 6 Berdych in F). The Swiss moved clear of John McEnroe (77 titles) into third place on the all-time title list, behind Jimmy Connors (109) and Ivan Lendl (94).
• In Halle, Federer won his 79th title and 14th on grass, defeating Alejandro Falla in the final.
• In 2013, Federer became the oldest player to finish a season inside the Top 10 since Andre Agassi (35) in 2005. He was also the first player since Pete Sampras (1990-2001) to finish in the Top 10 for 12 years in a row. His streak of 11 straight years inside the Top 5 came to an end.
• Federer’s coach Stefan Edberg returns to Cincinnati for the first time since 1996. He’s a 2-time champ here, reaching the QF or better 11 years in a row, winning a tournament record 45 matches.

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