(Reuters) – Novak Djokovic qualified for his sixth Cincinnati Masters final when he edged out Marin Cilic 6-4 3-6 6-3 in an afternoon semi-final yesterday.
The result sets up the prospect of a mouth-watering final between Djokovic and Roger Federer, one of the greatest rivalries in the history of the sport.
But first Swiss Federer must get past David Goffin in the evening semi-final.
Asked about the rivalry, Djokovic played a straight bat: “I understand you want to ask me that question but out of respect to Goffin I don’t want to answer it,” he said in an on-court interview.
Djokovic, who has lost all five of his Cincinnati finals, was not at his best against Cilic, but came through on the big points.
“It’s been a rollercoaster week with matches, interruptions, and rain delays and everything,” Djokovic said.
“I managed to win the last three matches in the third set. Very few points decided a winner and I just managed to pull through.”
After dropping the second set to Cilic, Djokovic broke to go 3-1 up in the decider, before immediately complaining to the chair umpire about music that was audible from outside centre court.
It seemed to break Djokovic’s concentration, because he immediately went down 0-40 on serve before digging his way back to deuce, only to lose the game with a weak second serve into the net.
But Djokovic broke back in the eighth game before serving out clinically to secure victory.
“I didn’t like that music in the first few games of the third set,” he said, before adding that he would watch the Federer-Goffin semi-final on TV.
“Of course, I’ll watch, from my bed or bath,” he said.