World class tennis was on display at the Lindner Family Tennis Center for Saturday’s Men’s and Women’s semifinals matches, featuring Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Venus Williams, amongst other top names.
The first Men’s semifinal featured 2 seed Novak Djokovic v 6 seed Juan Martin Del Potro on Center Court. The match started off with two holds, one per player. In Novak’s second service game, Del Potro had his chances to break and take the lead but was unable to convert on all four break point opportunities in the set. They would stay on serve until the sixth game of the match, where two Del Potro double faults would give Djokovic the break and a 4-2 lead on serve. Djokovic and Del Potro would each hold their next service games, giving a Djokovic a chance to serve for the set at 5-3. And he did just that at love, behind an ace and two winners.
The second set began with two straight holds, Del Potro serving at 1-1 before Djokovic was able to break again for a 2-1 lead and serve. He would solidify the break in the next game with strong groundstrokes and an ace, going up 3-1. Going into the seventh game of the set up 4-2, the three-time finalist went in for the kill as he again broke Del Potro at love, taking a 5-2 lead and the chance to serve out the set and match. Djokovic delivered on his first match point with an ace, taking the semifinal by a score of 6-3, 6-2 in one hour and twenty-seven minutes.
The second Men’s final featured World’s #1 player and four-time Western & Southern Champion Roger Federer v fellow Swiss Stanislaw Wawrinka. Behind solid serving and ground strokes, Wawrinka was able see the first real break opportunity to take a lead in the set in the seventh game of the set, but Federer was able to hold to level the match on serve at 4-4. Federer’s best chance to break Wawrinka came in the twelfth game with Wawrinka serving at 5-6. Federer had four set points, including a 0-40 lead, but was unable to convert the breaks, as the match went to a tiebreak with not a single break of serve by either man. Federer took two ‘mini-breaks’ in the tiebreak to take the first set by a score of 7-6(4).
The second set started off much like the first set, evenly matched with high quality tennis from both men. Neither broke serve early as the set went to a 3-3 score line. In Wawrinka’s fourth service game, with the score at 3-3, Federer saw two break points at 15-40. Wawrinka was able to save the first but not the second, giving Federer the 4-3 lead with serve. Federer held with ease and owned a commanding 5-3 lead. Wawrinka wilted under the Federer pressure in the next game, with a double fault to give Federer the set and match at 7-6(4), 6-3 in one hour and thirty-five minutes.
Roger Federer will face Novak Djokovic in Sunday’s Men’s Final, the first time in tournament history that the #1 and #2 players in the world will be going head to head in Western & Southern Open finals.
The first women’s semifinal featured Venus Williams v Li Na. Williams came out looking flat in warm ups, even returning to the locker room before play began. The two women would hold serve early, leading to a 2-2 score line, until the fifth game of the set under Williams’s serve. She would save the first two break points but would commit a double fault on the third, giving the Chinese woman a 3-2 lead. Li would again have a chance to break Williams up 4-2, but could not convert. With serve and a 5-4 score line, Li would have the chance to serve out the set, but Venus would show some fight as she broke on her only break opportunity of the game, getting the set back on serve 5-5. However, the momentum wouldn’t last long, as Williams’s gave Li the break and set on a double fault by a 7-5 score line.
The second set would start with some delay, as Venus requested a trainer to the court for attention to her lower back. This confirmed what all in attendance knew, Venus Williams was not 100% tonight, as her serve was topping out in the low 80-85mph range, numbers that are 30-40mph lower than average for her. The second set started off much of the same as the first, with Li breaking to open the second set, followed by each woman holding serve for a 2-1 score and serve. Williams would show her champion’s fight as she rattled off the next five games behind two breaks of Li’s serve. Williams would take the second set behind a 6-3 score line, sending the match into a third set.
Venus Williams seemed to give it her all in the second set, as she had nothing left in the tank for the third set, holding serve only once on her first service game. Li captured the last five games of the set for the victory and a 7-5, 3-6, 6-1 score line in two hours and nine minutes time.
Li Na’s opponent in the final is 5 seed German Angelique Kerber, who defeated 4 seed Petra Kvitova 6-1, 2-6, 6-4 in the second evening match. In a match that went back and forth the resolve of the German won her the match as she was able to outhit and outlast the Czech.
The Men’s final will be on CBS Sunday afternoon at 12:30pm featuring (1) Roger Federer v (2) Novak Djokovic. The Women’s final will be on ESPN2 Sunday afternoon at 4:00pm featuring (5) Angelique Kerber v (9) Li Na.