Western & Southern Open Semifinals Set
The semifinals for the Western & Southern Open as ATP and WTA stars took to the court in Mason, Ohio.
Top-seed Ashleigh Barty survived an upset bid from Maria Sakkari, coming back to win the quarterfinal 5-7, 6-2, 6-0.
Barty opened the first set strong, opening a 5-2 lead. Serving for the set, Barty fell under Sakkari’s pressure and dropped the next five games to lose the first set 7-5.
“I think I was doing all the right things to get to 5-2 and then played a little bit of a sloppy game on my serve at 5-3 and let Maria back in and she got super-aggressive and kind of asserted herself in the middle of the court, changed her court position,” said Barty.
Sakkari’s lead wouldn’t last as Barty broke early in the second to take a 3-1 lead before breaking Sakkari’s serve a second time to take the second set 6-2.
Sakkari would fend off a handful of break points to open the first set but ultimately lost her opening service game, falling behind 3-0 in the deciding set.
Barty’s pressure would not waiver as she ran away with the final set 6-0 to advance to the semifinals.
Svetlana Kuznestova is into her first ever Western & Southern Open semifinals after a 3-6, 7-6(2), 6-3 upset victory over No. 3 seed Karolina Pliskova.
Kuznetsova, a two-time Grand Slam winner, fired thirty winners and six aces along with breaking Pliskova’s serve three times.
Kuznetsova, who has been nursing injuries much of the first half of the year, is going into the US Open with solid momentum after reaching the third round last week in Toronto and now the semifinals in Cincinnati.
“I think it’s going to be so different match up. I think she’s really interesting player, like, she combines different styles and very interesting games. It’s going to be really another test for myself,” Kuznestova said of her semifinal match against Ashleigh Barty. “But I just go out there with the same focus to fight every ball and to see what’s going on.”
Sofia Kenin is into her first Premier 5 semifinals after Naomi Osaka was forced to retire in the third set with a left knee injury.
Kenin took the first set 6-4 before Osaka upped her level of play in the second set, breaking the young American in the second game and to close out the set.
Serving at 1-1, 40-40 in the third set Osaka stopped play and received a medical time out. After a lengthy medical timeout, Osaka came out with her left knee heavily wrapped and lost the two subsequent points before retiring from the match.
With the loss, Osaka can lose the No. 1 ranking if Ashleigh Barry makes the final but can fall no further than No. 2.
“I just told myself, like, I have lost so many second sets after winning first sets, so it’s nothing new,” said Kenin about her mentality going into the third set. “Just have to regroup, and I’m playing No. 1 in the world, so I have to go out there and fight and leave it all on the court.”
Madison Keys continues her impressive run in Cincinnati with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Venus Williams. Keys will face fellow American Sofia Kenin in the semifinals.
From the beginning of the match Keys applied constant pressure to Williams’ game with her booming serve and forehand. Williams also struggled with her serve, specifically her second serve, winning only 35% of her second serve points.
Regardless the result, Venus Williams has to feel good with her play in Cincinnati heading into the US Open after a less than stellar 2019.
 Barty (AUS) v Kuznetsova (RUS)
 Keys (USA) v Kenin (USA)
 Djokovic (SBR) v  Medvedev (RUS)
Gasquet(FRA) v  Goffin (BEL)