By Benjamin Snyder
The men and women will be fighting for spots into the finals at the Lindner Family Tennis Center on Saturday as the 2012 tournament reaches its final days of action.
Up first on Center Court is the Argentine Juan Martin del Potro against the No. 2 seed and five-time major champion Novak Djokovic. The battle between the men for a place in the championship round is a rematch of their bronze medal meeting at the London Olympics, which del Potro won.
Djokovic spoke in length about the type of mental toughness needed to succeed after particularly difficult losses. "Yes, they are difficult, especially when you're playing for a country and when you're in Olympic Games and we're fighting for bronze medal," he said.
"He won that match. It happens. It's a sport," continued Djokovic. "You lose, you win, but the most important thing is to try to move on and become even better and even stronger from those experiences and try to win."
Looking ahead, the three-time Cincinnati runner-up said, "So tomorrow will be my opportunity to win against him."
In the second match on Center Court, World No. 1 Roger Federer plays friend and compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka, his partner in taking the 2008 men’s doubles gold medal in Beijing.
About meeting the fellow Swiss next, Federer said, "I have a tough matchup with him. It's going to be a difficult one. Seems like he's playing really well."
He continued, "I'm just excited for him and for me that two Swiss guys can make it to the semis here in Cincinnati. It's great."
The women play in tomorrow’s night matches with wild card Venus Williams taking on Li Na of China. For the older Williams sister, it’ll be her first semifinal match since 2010. Meanwhile, the Chinese player bids to reach her second straight final at a Premier-level event, having made it to the Montreal final last week.
Speaking about the atmosphere in Cincinnati and the support she gets here, Venus said, "It's awesome they're behind me. When you hit the big shots they're there and everybody is pumping you up. It's a great feeling." She added, "This is like one of the best places to play in the U.S."
Regarding the type of fans that come to the Lindner Family Center to cheer her on, Venus continued, "I don't think people could be nicer. This is the nicest place."
Angelique Kerber, who snapped the 19-match win streak of Serena Williams on Friday, plays the winner of Montreal champion Petra Kvitova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia.
In doubles, the London Olympic gold medalists Mike and Bob Bryan of the United States face Robert Lindstedt and Horia Tecau, three-time Wimbledon runners-up. Earlier in the day on the Grandstand, Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo are slated to face Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna of India.
For the women, Lucie Hradecka and Andrea Hlavackova await the winner of the match between Katarina Srebotnik and Zheng Jie versus Nuria Llagostera Vives and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez.