The world's top two players Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic booked a showdown in tomorrow's final at the Cincinnati Masters with straight-set semi-final triumphs.
Top seed Federer beat his friend and Swiss compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka 7-6 (7/4), 6-3, while Djokovic, who quit last year's final against Andy Murray with a shoulder problem, advanced by defeating Juan Martin Del Potro 6-3, 6-2.
"It will come down to a few points against Novak," Federer said. "I'll have to play my game and not worry about what he might be doing, especially on break points.
"I missed break points in the Olympic final (against Murray) and I can't do that against him. Novak plays aggresive. He doesn't just push the ball. Novak is amazing on hard court.
"This is a final to look forward to."
It is the first time the world's two top-rated players, neither of whom has dropped a set all week, have met in a Cincinnati final.
It comes in the last tune-up match for Federer and reigning US Open champion Djokivic ahead of the start of this year's US Open on August 27.
Federer's run to the final means he will stay atop the ATP rankings through the end of the US Open.
Federer has claimed an ATP-best five titles this season and seeks a sixth career Cincinnati crown. He and Djokovic last met in a Wimbledon semi-final, which the Swiss won on the way to capturing the grass-court grand slam title.
Previously, Serbia's Djokovic had swept three straight from the 17-time grand slam champion. Federer leads their series 15-12.
In the women's draw, China's Li Na defeated an injured Venus Williams 7-5, 3-6, 6-1 to reach the final after an enthralling two-hour encounter.
Federer needed seven set points to lift an opener lasting almost an hour against Wawrinka, his friend and practice partner who has recently been lent the services of one of Federer's coaches.
But friendship aside, the top seed was ruthless at the end as he shut down Wawrinka as the challenger ended on a double-fault on match point, Federer improving to 55-7 on the season with his 11th win in 12 matches with Wawrinka.
"I had to play great match to beat Stan," Federer said. "He was playing well."
Djokovic will be trying to back up his Toronto trophy from six days ago when he won that Masters event after leaving the London Olympics without a medal.
The Serb beat an opponent who was feeling the pain from a left wrist injury and was treated late in the opening set. He said had it been another match, he might well have quit.
The victory was revenge of a sort after Del Potro won the Olympic bronze medal at Djokovic's expense.
Djokovic has been ferocious on serve in recent weeks, saving 60 of his last 66 break points.
"In those situations I focus on each point," Djokovic said. "You have to give 100 percent when you're down BP or have one. I try to concentrate even more.
"I try to go for my shots, step into the court or mix up the serve. It has been working well so far. I know how to cope with pressure and I know what to do."
Djokovic advanced on his second match point to reach his 49th ATP-level final.
AFPTags: sport, tennis, united-states First posted August 19, 2012 07:26:28