Saturday Preview: Semifinal Sizzle

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Cue the music: It’s the [semi]final countdown! The final four men and women will hit the court on Saturday to play for a shot at the Western & Southern Open singles title. Take a look at the matchups:  

[2] Roger Federer vs [11] David Goffin
When David Goffin takes the court against Roger Federer on Saturday, he’ll be hoping to channel his shocking win over the Swiss at last year’s ATP Finals. Federer, 37, will be hoping to channel the six other wins he’s earned over the 27-year Belgian dating back to 2012. 

Goffin completed an impressive quarterfinal upset over world No. 3 Juan Martin del Potro on Friday evening, while Federer, a seven-time Cincinnati champion, wrapped up his three-set win over countryman Stan Wawrinka just before midnight. They won’t take the court on Saturday until at least 7:00 pm. 

[7] Marin Cilic vs [10] Novak Djokovic
Former Cincinnati champion Marin Cilic, 29, has beaten Novak Djokovic, 31, twice in his career: once in Paris in 2016 and once this year on grass at Queen’s Club. Prior to those victories, Djokovic – a five-time finalist in Cincinnati – took out the Croat 14 straight times. “Definitely Novak is playing really well,” Cilic said after defeating Pablo Carreno Busta in the quarterfinals. “I watched the end of his match, and the level was definitely high and he's definitely in really good form.”

After notching two wins each on Friday thanks to Thursday’s rain, both players will be battling potential fatigue on Saturday. May the fittest man win. 

[1] Simona Halep vs Aryna Sabalenka
Talk about a dream run. Aryna Sabalenka’s wins in Cincinnati include Johanna Konta, former champion Karolina Pliskova, No. 6 seed Caroline Garcia and world No. 13 Madison Keys – and she’s making it look easy. The hard-hitting 20-year-old from Belarus will face her toughest test yet against world No. 1 Simona Halep as she looks to reach her third final of 2018.

Halep, a champion last week in Montreal and a two-time finalist in Cincinnati, defeated Sabalenka earlier this year, dropping just four games. “It's going to be big challenge for me after so many matches,” said 26-year-old Halep. “It’s going to be a tough one, but I'm here just to play it, and I hope to win.”

[8] Petra Kvitova vs Kiki Bertens 
If you swing by this match on Saturday, wear your tank top – both of these players are hot as Cincinnati on a summer day (when it’s not raining). Kvitova has captured five titles in 2018 and will play for a spot in her first Cincinnati final when she faces 26-year-old Bertens. “I'm hungry to do well again, so I'm not satisfied at all,” Kvitova said following her three-set quarterfinal win over Elise Mertens. 

Bertens reached her career high rank of No. 15 in the world this spring after capturing a title on clay in Charleston. She followed that up with her second trip to a Grand Slam quarterfinal at Wimbledon. Bertens’ straight set quarterfinal win over world No. 7 Elina Svitolina sent a clear message to Kvitova. Ready or not! Here she comes.

 

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