It is down to the final four as the title contenders led by World number One Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Roger Federer entered the semi-final of the ATP Masters series 1000 at Cincinnati. They have been joined by the Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov who became the first qualifier in twenty years to reach the last four with a straight upset win over the sixth seeded Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic.
Novak Djokovic who is bidding to become the first player in history to win all nine ATP Masters 1000 titles, exacted sweet revenge over Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland, the man who incidentally thwarted his bid for a career slam at the French Open this year in Paris. Wawrinka, who was involved in a three tie-break sets win over the Croat Ivo Karlovic, ran out of steam after loosing the first set and went down 4-6,1-6. He will take on the Ukranian Dolgopolov nicknamed “The Dog” who had a surprisingly easy 6-4, 6-2 win over Berdych who needed court side treatment on his foot.
In the evening session Roger Federer continued his dominance of the Spanish veteran left hander Feliciano Lopez as he won in straight sets 6-3,6-4. Lopez had beaten compatriot Rafael Nadal in the round of 16 which prevented an eagerly awaited clash between two of the greatest players in tennis history.
Andy Murray who won the Roger’s Cup in Montreal on Sunday for a third time, earned his semi-final place with a three set win over the in-form Frenchman Richard Gasquet 4-6,6-1,6-4. That set up a semi-final meeting against Roger Federer and Murray can seal the second seeding at the U.S. Open starting on August 31 at the Flushing Meadows in New York, by beating the Swiss. Murray has won this event twice in 2008 & 2011. Federer will have to win the title to clinch second seed in New York. He has already won the event in 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2012 & 2014.
The semi-final line up with their year to date and head to head record and my pick mentioned first is as under:-
Novak Djokovic (1) (55-4) v. Alexandr Dolgopolov (26-18) ; Djokovic leads 4-0
Roger Federer (2) (43-7) v. Andy Murray (3) (56-8) ; Federer leads 13-11
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy.You can reach him at the email: firstname.lastname@example.org]