The first match of the day featured World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in what appeared to be a challenging match-up against French Open champion Stan Wawrinka. It was the first meeting between the two players since the Swiss No. 2 defeated Djokovic in the Roland Garros final a couple months ago.
However, in Cincinnati, Wawrinka failed to recapture the magical tennis that he had in Paris earlier this year. Djokovic had little trouble in dismissing the Swiss, winning in straight sets 6-4, 6-1.
After the match Djokovic claimed that it was the best tennis he’d played in the Western & Southern Open this season:
“It was the best performance I had so far this week,” the World No. 1 stated. “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.”
Wawrinka, whose next match will be in Flushing Meadows, made the following comments after the loss:
“I’m generally happy with my tournament,” he said. “I know where I am. There are a lot of positives to take from this week winning two tough match without playing my best tennis, fighting, staying there. I think my level is there. I’m happy with what I did this week. I’m excited for US Open.”
Djokovic is currently trying to become the first player to win all nine of the Masters Series events. With two more victories in Cincinnati this weekend, he would do just that.
On the bottom half of the draw both Andy Murray and Roger Federer advanced. Murray advanced at the expense of Richard Gasquet, winning the match in three sets 4-6, 6-1, 6-4. By the end of the match the Scot seemed as though he was labouring on court, perhaps tired after playing in so many matches recently. Tennis fans will recall that Murray won the Canadian Masters just last week and, accordingly, he could be nearly spent as the semifinals loom.
Federer, who has won in Cincinnati numerous times, was very efficient in claiming his spot in this year’s semifinals. The Swiss No. 1 defeated Feliciano Lopez in straight sets, something Federer has often done when the two players have met over the years. Federer commented after his victory over the Spaniard:
“I did feel good, especially in the first set,” he claimed. “In the second set a little less maybe. It was also an important game to hold being down Love-40. That’s exactly the kind of match it can become. As an experienced tennis player, I’m aware that matches can turn around extremely quickly.”
Federer holds a 13-11 winning record against Murray. When one factors in that the World No. 3 should be the fresher of the two players, it further implies that it will be Federer that will be in the final on Sunday.
The Order of Play for Saturday is as follows:
CENTER start 1:00 pm (EDT)
ATP –  N. Djokovic (SRB) vs [Q] A. Dolgopolov (UKR)
ATP –  A. Murray (GBR) vs  R. Federer (SUI)