Cincinnati Masters: Novak Djokovic reaches final with victory over Marin Cilic

Simona Halep Western & Southern Open Cincinnati

Simona Halep Western & Southern Open Cincinnati

His 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 win moved him one victory away from the only ATP Masters 1000 title he has never claimed.

Meanwhile, Roger Federer stayed on course to add to his record haul in Cincinnati.

The seven-time champion returned to the court, having earlier banished Leonardo Mayer, to defeat his fellow Swiss 6-7 (2) 7-6 (6) 6-2. After missing the tournament the past two years with injuries, he beat countryman Stan Wawrinka 6-7 (2), 7-6 (6), 6-2 to reach the semifinals.

Several days of rain turned the quarterfinals into an endurance test.

Top-ranked Simona Halep needed only eight points to complete a gritty comeback that was put on hold overnight by rain, beating qualifier Ajla Tomljanovic 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 at the Western & Southern Open on Thursday.

After his passing shot finished the 2-hour, 30-minute match, Djokovic led the crowd in cheers and pumped his fist, ending a long day with an impromptu celebration.

Djokovic's match against Grigor Dimitrov was suspended at the start of the third set on Thursday night.

Djokovic, who has lost all five of his Cincinnati finals, was not at his best against Cilic, but came through on the big points. Djokovic is trying to become the first player to win all nine events since the series started in 1990.

"I really liked, you know, the composure, so to say, the focus that I had all the way through". "I have plenty of motivation. I'm in a good position, so I'll take it step by step".

Dimitrov didn't drop a set a year ago while winning his first Masters title in Cincinnati.

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"I'm really happy I can go through this, and tonight, I'll have another match", Halep said in her on-court interview.

"We played tough match in Queen's, but that's grass and definitely different". We were not the only ones (dealing with interruptions), but it just makes it harder, because you're warming up, you're cooling down.

He'll face Marin Cilic, who won twice Friday to reach the semifinals.

The semi-final swung in Djokovic's favour then, however, when he broke Cilic's serve for 5-3 before serving for victory.

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.

"Waiting around all day and hardly seeing any tennis obviously is never fun for the tournament and the fans", Federer said.

The opening game of the third set was delayed 22 minutes because of lightning.

Playing in his first tournament since Wimbledon, Federer lost just four first-serve points and did not face a break point in the match. It's also worth noting that both were in quicker than average conditions, again on display here this week. I feel and I heard that it's completely different.

The Serb, seeded 10th, will play the victor of Saturday's second semi-final between Roger Federer and David Goffin. "I just played and waited for the important points to go for the victor".

"But I've found out that I need to have the game B in the end of the day". Halep is seeking her first Cincinnati championship after losing in the finals a year ago and 2015. She'll play Aryna Sabalenka, who beat Madison Keys in straight sets.

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