Roger Federer battles past Peter Gojowczyk in opener — ATP Cincinnati

Elena Summers
August 21, 2018

Elsewhere, former world number one Novak Djokovic also won his second match of the day to set up a semi-final with Croat Marin Cilic.

"I managed to win the last three matches in the third set".

He displayed his top form throughout the match and delivered perhaps his most precise shot down 2-5 at 30-40 in the second set when he snuck a bullet backhand victor that caught the left line.

"So I was just happy how I was able to lift my game up throughout the set, and then also in the tie-breaker, I played a good breaker, so I was actually very happy".

The Serb 10th seed followed up a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 third-round defeat of holder Grigor Dimitrov earlier in the day of a rainy week by beating Milos Raonic 7-5, 4-6, 6-3.

Few players have enjoyed the run of dominance that Federer has in Cincinnati. The only player with better finals results at one tournament is Rafael Nadal, who is 11-0 in both French Open and Barcelona finals.

Raonic would break Djokovic's serve early in the second set and coast through his service games en route to taking the second set by a score of 6-4.

Top-ranked Simona Halep played later Saturday against Aryna Sabalenka, trying to reach the finals for the third time.

Djokovic admitted after the match that he is "very expressive of emotions", which sometimes works in his favour, and sometimes doesn't.

Halep has faced the most challenges from the rain, with one match suspended overnight Wednesday and then her third-round match held over for a day as well.

The Argentine showed great character and gave far less away on serve to force a second-set tie-break, but the 2015 champion - competing in Cincinnati for the first time since lifting the title - had too much quality in the clutch moments and advanced.

Federer's game was off - 28 unforced errors - and Djokovic took full advantage.

Djokovic was pushed all the way by Cilic, and the overall numbers showed that he won just two more points than his opponent, the 2016 champion in Cincinnati, but it was his ability on the points that mattered that saw him through to a sixth final in the tournament. "But I do wish to win the title, without a doubt".

"I need a little bit of rest because I'm exhausted", Halep said.

Ukrainian Svitolina, seeded fifth, beat 16-year-old American prodigy Amanda Anisimova 6-4, 6-4.

"I feel like she missed more than me today", Halep said of Barty.

The 20-time major victor earned himself three break points in game two with the assistance of a magnificent cross-court forehand pass, but he failed to use any of them to his advantage. "I really liked, you know, the composure, so to say, the focus that I had all the way through". Petra Kvitova, who toppled Serena Williams in the second round, reached the last eight with a 6-4, 6-2 win over France's Kristina Mladenovic.

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