MASON, Ohio (AP) — No medal involved this time. Little drama, either. Novak Djokovic simply ground his way to another tournament title match.
And Roger Federer will be waiting for him.
Djokovic reached the finals of the Western & Southern Open for the second straight year yesterday, beating Juan Martin del Potro, 6-3, 6-2, in a reprise of their Olympics match. Del Potro defeated Djokovic for the bronze medal on Wimbledon’s lush grass two weeks ago.
The sequel on a hard court? Not even close.
The final will match the world’s top two players, the first time that’s happened in Cincinnati.
Top-ranked Federer beat Swiss countryman Stanislas Wawrinka, 7-6 (4), 6-3, in the other semi-final. It’ll be the seventh time that Federer and Djokovic have played for a tournament title, the last time in 2011 at Dubai. Federer beat Djokovic for the Cincinnati title in 2009.
Federer leads their career series 15-12, but it’s taken a few interesting turns lately. Djokovic beat him in the semifinals at the US Open last year, then again in the semis at Rome and the French Open. Federer got the upper hand again in the semi-finals at Wimbledon.
Federer’s semi-final win sets up a memorable finish.
He skipped the Rogers Cup, resting up after the Olympics. He hasn’t lost a set all week, making quick work of his opponents — until Saturday.
By every measure, Wawrinka was overmatched. He came in 1-10 in his career against Federer, including 0-7 on hard courts. He’d lost his last eight matches against the Swiss star, dropping 19 of 20 sets.
More bad history: Wawrinka came into the match 0-9 against players currently No 1, losing all 19 sets against Federer, Nadal and Djokovic when they were at the top of the rankings.