Top-seeds Ashleigh Barty and Daniil Medvedev earned their second Western & Southern Open semifinal appearances following quarterfinal wins Friday.
World No. 1 Barty and two-time Western & Southern Open finalist Angelique Kerber will square off Saturday in a rematch of the Wimbledon semifinals. Medvedev will face No. 4 seed Andrey Rublev Saturday in the first all-Russian men’s semifinal in Western & Southern Open history.
Barty continued her dominance in Cincinnati with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over ninth-seeded Barbora Krejcikova. The Wimbledon champion has yet to drop a set this week.
The unseeded Kerber, who did not have an opening round bye, claimed the first set then moved on when No. 11 Petra Kvitova retired with gastrointestinal illness midway through the second set.
“(Kerber) is one of the best competitors in the world. She knows how to play big tournaments, knows how to play big matches,” Barty said. “She's really locked down into the Angie of old in a sense where she's confident, she's aggressive, but she's able to run and to move and put the ball in tricky spots, to not let you dictate too much. That's a challenge of when you play against Angie is you have to almost ride a fine line a little bit of not pressing too much but not being too defensive where she can move you around the court.”
This will be the second straight Western & Southern Open the women’s semifinal will feature two former or current World No. 1 players. Kerber is also the fourth active player to have reached three or more Cincinnati semifinals.
“I know that I have to play my best tennis against her,” Kerber said. “I know that it will be another good match. This is actually why I'm here, to have a lot of good matches against the best players. Tomorrow is another one. I'm looking forward to playing against Ash again.”
Medvedev and Rublev's semifinal marks the first time since Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka in 2012 that two countrymen faced each other in the final four. The 2019 Western & Southern Open champion, Medvedev got revenge on Pablo Carreno Busta for a loss to the Spaniard at the Tokyo Olympic quarterfinals. Medvedev, who last week in Toronto won his fourth ATP Masters 1000 title, only lost two games to Carreno Busta and claimed the match in 54 minutes.
“I'm happy for the Russian semifinal,” Medvedev said. “It's actually funny because we played each other here in Cincinnati in (quarterfinals) two years ago. I think it was our first meeting on the ATP Tour. I played him one time in challenger before. Hopefully next time it's going to be a Russian final because we had a Russian quarterfinal, a Russian semifinal now here in Cincinnati. Hopefully it can be a Russian final one day. I think it's good for the country. We continue to improve, continue to play well. Tomorrow of course we are rivals. I'm going to try to beat him. I'm sure he's going to try to beat me.”
Unlike Medvedev, Rublev had a three-set battle for his place in the semifinals and answered the bell against France’s Benoit Paire. Rublev, who made his fourth ATP Masters 1000 quarterfinals in six tournaments this season, eased past Paire in the third set and earned his first semifinal appearance in Cincinnati.
“I'm happy to play against (Daniil), because it's a nice challenge for me to see what I need to improve,” Rublev said. “I always improve after I lose to him. It's going to be close, like a chess match with long rallies. I need to fight for every ball. We'll see. It's going to be interesting.”
Quarterfinal action continues Friday evening and semifinal play begins Saturday at 11 a.m.
Recap presented by The Recovery Room