Novak Djokovic claimed victory twice on Friday to advance to the semifinals of the Western & Southern Open at Mason, Ohio.
The 10th-seeded Serbian first finished his rain-delayed third-round match against fifth-seeded Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 triumph, before ousting Canadian Milos Raonic 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 in 2 hours, 29 minutes in the quarterfinals.
Rain wreaked havoc on Thursday’s schedule, leading to several players having to take the court twice on Friday. That includes fifth-seeded Argentine Juan Martin del Potro and second-seeded Swiss Roger Federer, who will each play their quarterfinal matches later Friday.
Del Potro defeated 15th-seeded Australian Nick Kyrgios 7-6 (4), 6-7 (6), 6-2 in his early match, while Federer cruised past Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer 6-1, 7-6 (6).
Djokovic is a five-time finalist at the Cincinnati-area event but has never won the title. He moved a step closer with his victory over Raonic to improve to 9-0 in his career against the Canadian.
Djokovic broke Raonic’s serve twice in a row to close the first set before he had his serve broken in what was otherwise a back-and-forth second set. In the decisive third, the Serbian fell behind a break at 2-1 before converting his fourth break-point chance in the next game. He seized the momentum from there, winning four of the last five games.
In the semifinals, Djokovic will face seventh-seeded Croatian Marin Cilic, who downed 13th-seeded Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta 7-6 (7), 6-4 in his second match of the day.
Cilic was knotted with Russia’s Karen Khachanov in the third set of their rain-delayed third-round match before ultimately winning, 7-6 (5), 3-6, 6-4.
Despite pulling double duty, Cilic got the better of Carreno Busta in what was a lengthy first-set tiebreaker, finally clinching it on his fourth set point. The second set was more straightforward, as Cilic never faced a break point on his way to claiming victory in 1 hour, 45 minutes.
Djokovic is 14-2 in his career against Cilic, who won his lone Masters 1000 title at Cincinnati two years ago. Cilic missed last year’s event with an abductor injury.
Federer’s late match Friday is against wild-card compatriot Stan Wawrinka, who finished a 6-4, 6-3 defeat of Hungarian Marton Fucsovics earlier in the day. Del Potro is facing 11th-seeded Belgian David Goffin, a 6-2, 6-4 winner over sixth-seeded South African Kevin Anderson in another rain-delayed match.
—Field Level Media