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Western & Southern Open Finals Set

Roger Federer and David Ferrer both won their semifinal matches over Milos Raonic and Julien Benneteau, respectively, to reach the Western & Southern Open Men’s Final.

Federer defeated Raonic 6-2, 6-3 in a match where the Canadian’s normally big, reliable serve let him down. Raonic was able to hit just 44% of first serves in for the match, winning just 68% of those first serve points while being broken three times in the match, two in the first set and one in the second.

In comparison, the underrated Federer serve was in top form, as the five-time champion would not drop a point on his serve in the first set, winning all 16 points on his serve.

David Ferrer outlasted the Julien Benneteau 6-2, 6-3 to reach his first Western & Southern Open final.

Benneteau, in his first Masters 1000 semifinals, may have simply ran out of gas on Saturday, playing his fifth singles match in five days on top of playing doubles all week as the steady Ferrer was too much to handle, getting every ball back, forcing errors all around.

Ferrer will try to stop Federer from winning his sixth Western & Southern Open title on Sunday afternoon by beating the Swiss man for the first time in 16 tries.

 

Unlike the men’s semifinals, the women’s matches were full with drama as Serena Williams advanced to her second straight final in Cincinnati and Ana Ivanovic is into her first Cincinnati final.

Williams overcame a slow start and bizarre near collapse to defeat Caroline Wozniacki 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 Saturday afternoon, overcoming a tight lower back which hampered her movement all day.

While the match may have been high in drama it certainly was not high in quality. There were 15 total breaks of serve, eight on Wozniacki’s racquet and uncharacteristically seven on Williams’ racquet. Wozniacki had just eight winners to go with her eight double faults, while Williams had 41 unforced errors in the match.

With the match level at one set each, Serena summoned her inner champion to mount a 5-2 led in the third and final set. She nearly squandered it, letting Wozniacki break her serve to get the match as close as it would get at 5-4. Williams would serve the match out in convincing style, claiming her eighth win in nine matches against her good friend.

“I just had to go for rockets because I wasn’t feeling great,” Serena said. “I thought, ‘Listen, I’m going to go out and just try to hit aces and see what happens.’ It started working for me. I was like, ‘OK.’ Hopefully my arm will be OK tomorrow.”

Ana Ivanovic defeated the gritty 2011 champion Maria Sharapova 6-2, 5-7, 7-5 in one of the most exciting WTA matches of the year.

Ivanovic, continuing her great year, had a 6-2, 4-0 lead on Sharapova before nerves, and Sharapova’s will to win, got the best of her. Her sometimes suspect serve let her down continually in the second set, letting Sharapova back into the match.

Early in the third set, with Sharapova serving at 1-0, Ivanovic stopped play, knelling over. Having suffered from heart beat issues in the past, everyone was worried. She would take a brief medical timeout, having her vitals checked courtside before returning. Turns out she was feeling nauseous, whether that was from anxiety from the second set collapse or from something she ate is up for debate. Either way Sharapova was not amused.

Serving at 4-3, Sharapova would be broken to level the match, after which she mockingly asked the chair to “check her blood pressure.”

Ivanovic would eventually break Sharapova’s serve late in the third set to claim the victory, her second straight over the Russian and fourth in twelve meetings.

“It’s a very thrilling, I think, moment because it was very competitive towards the end, especially in the third set,” Ivanovic said. “Even in the second, lots of turn around, lots of breaks in the third set. Just so, so thrilled and happy to stay composed and fight until the last moment. When it mattered the most, I played some really good tennis.”

Ana Ivanovic and Serena Williams will square off for fourth time this year, with Serena claiming the last two wins and all three matches this year going three sets.

 

The women’s final starts at 2pm on ESPN2, followed by the men’s final at 4pm, also on ESPN2.

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