(Reuters) - Novak Djokovic edged Ukrainian qualifier Alexandr Dolgopolov 4-6 7-6(5) 6-2 on Saturday to reach the Western & Southern Open final where a victory would make him the first player to win all nine ATP Masters titles.
The top seed, in his final tune-up event ahead of the Aug. 31-Sept. 13 U.S. Open in New York, lost the first set but escaped a nervy second-set tiebreak in Cincinnati that appeared to take the wind out of his 66th-ranked opponent’s sails.
Djokovic squandered a chance to even the match in the ninth game of the second set when he was broken to love before the players each held serve over the next three games to force a tiebreak which the Serb won to ensure a third set.
The Australian Open and Wimbledon champion broke a disheartened Dolgopolov twice en route to ending the match in two hours, 20 minutes and improving his all-time record versus the Ukrainian to 5-0.
Djokovic will play either defending champion Roger Federer or third seed Andy Murray in Sunday’s final.
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Ken Ferris