By Benjamin Snyder
The World No. 1 Roger Federer and Serena and Venus Williams headline quarterfinal action at the Western & Southern Open on Friday.
Federer, a silver medalist at the London Olympics and a four-time Cincinnati titlist, takes center stage in the first night match of the evening. He’ll face American Mardy Fish in a rematch of their 2010 final at the Lindner Family Tennis Center.
Fish, who comes into Cincinnati after a series of strong results, but a health scare earlier in the season, earned praise from Federer. "I'm just very happy for him that his health is back to somewhat normal from what he told me," said the 17-time major champion. "I really wished him well to come back on tour, and I'm happy now to see him."
Looking forward to Friday’s match, the ninth meeting of their head-to-head, which is solidly in Federer’s favor at seven wins to one, he continued, "So now to play him, it's nice, and I'm looking forward to that match."
Earlier in the day, the Williams sisters will fight for spots in the semifinals, coming off a gold medal showing in doubles together at the Olympics. The No. 2 seed Serena will take on two-time major semifinalist Angelique Kerber of Germany in her match.
Said Serena, "You know, she's playing really well. She's moving really well. So it will be a good match for me."
Venus, who upset the No. 7 seed Sara Errani in the third round faces defending US Open winner Samantha Stosur. After splitting matches with the Australian earlier in the year, the older Williams sisters seemed hungry to win their upcoming match. "This match is totally different circumstances from both of those [previous meeting], she said, " I like to think I'm playing better than I was at that time. I’m trying to win, basically."
In the first match on Center Court, 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro will face Jeremy Chardy of France. Chardy has proven to be a giant-killer of sorts this week, taking out Andy Roddick and defending Cincinnati champion Andy Murray as a lucky loser into the main draw.
World No. 2 Novak Djokovic, the runner-up to Murray last year, also plays on Center Court after the del Potro and Chardy match. He faces the No. 12 seed Marin Cilic of Croatia to try and get to the final four. Djokovic, the winner in Toronto last week, advanced to the quarterfinals after his opponent, Nikolay Davydenko, retired due to injury.
In doubles, gold medalists Bob and Mike Bryan face the No. 8 seeds Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi and Jean-Julien Rojer for a place in the semifinals. The Bryans have claimed three doubles titles at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in the past.
Also playing doubles on Friday are the Wimbledon and Olympics runners-up to the Williams sisters, Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka. They take on Darija Jurak and Katalin Marosi in their semifinal.