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Djokovic Inches Closer To History in Cincinnati

Novak Djokovic edged closer to history, defeating both 2017 Western & Southern Open champion [5] Grigor Dimitrov and Milos Raonic to reach the semifinals in Cincinnati.

Djokovic, the ten-seed in the men’s draw, is looking to become the first man to complete the Career Masters Slam, having won all nine of the ATP Masters 1000 titles.

Djokovic has already won Indian Wells, Miami, Monte Carlo, Madrid, Rome, Canada, Shanghai, and the Paris Indoors. He has reached the final in Cincinnati five times and has fallen short every time.

“Yeah. Well, I must be very pleased with fighting spirit and staying mentally tough to overcome deficits in both matches,” Djokovic said of his efforts after winning the quarterfinal match.

The Serbian first had to finish his Round of 16 match against Dimitrov that was called late last night due to weather. Play was called Thursday evening with Djokovic serving at 2-6, 6-3, 2-1. He would close out the set and match by a final set score of 6-4.

Just hours later Djokovic would have to take to Center Court in his quest for the Rookwood Trophy.

Raonic served for the first set at 5-4 but was only able to land one first serve and double faulted twice, including on break point. Djokovic would go on to win the next two games and take the first set 7-5.

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.

The Canadian was staying in the match with his huge serve, topping 140 mph on several occasions, and holding his own in the rallies, using a lethal backhand slice to trouble Djokovic.

Milos Raonic would again break Djokovic’s serve, this time to take a 2-1 lead early in the third set. But after saving three match points, Raonic could not keep Djokovic at bay, as the Serbian leveled the set at 2-2.

With Raonic serving at 3-4, Djokovic returned a backhand deep of a second serve forcing Raonic to dump the ball into the net with an inside-in forehand. Djokovic then overcame a 0-30 deficit in the next game to take the final set and match 7-5, 4-6, 6-4.

 

Djokovic will take on [6] Marin Cilic in the first men’s semifinal Saturday afternoon while [2] Roger Federer will take on [11] David Goffin in the evening semifinal.

On the women’s side, [8] Petra Kvitova will take on Kiki Bertens and [1] Simona Halep will take on Aryna Sabalenka.

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