The top-ranked player has never won at Cincinnati, the only Masters title that has eluded him.
A topsy-turvy second set yesterday saw Williams grab the first three games and Ivanovic the next four before the world number one roared back to win the next three.
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic brushed aside Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka in straight sets to advance to the semi-finals of the ATP and WTA Cincinnati Masters.
To claim a first Cincinnati title, Djokovic will have to get past either six-time champion Federer or Murray – the man who beat the Serb for the title in Montreal last week. She’s using the tournament as a final tuneup for the U.S. Open, where she’ll try to complete a Grand Slam sweep. “I was obviously real happy with the level”.
Defending women’s champion Serena Williams will tackle Simona Halep in the final after battling from behind to beat rising star Elina Svitolina.
Buoyed by his lead, Karlovic opened up the first two break points of the match in the third game of the next set but the gritty Wawrinka held on in a back-and-forth tussle.
Djokovic, like Williams, lost in Canada, but both have rebuilt their confidence in Mason.
However, the seeded pair came back strongly to win a breakpoint in the second set. In response to Lopez’s remark that “You (Federer) were flying all over the court.”, Federer quipped: “I have a few more years left in me”.
“Hopefully I can take advantage of the fact that I’m fresh and ready to go”.
“I’m really trying to stay away from stress and stay away from press”, Williams said. Despite that though, Murray felt hard done by a return that hit off of Federer’s frame in the tiebreak as the Swiss won the point to set up match point. He’ll face qualifier Alexandr Dolgopolov, who beat Jerzy Janowicz 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 win over Jerzy Janowicz.
French Open finalist Lucie Safarova advanced to the quarter-finals when injured opponent Belinda Bencic quit trailing 6-2.
She will now face Ana Ivanovic after the former world No 1 rallied to defeat home hopeful Sloane Stephens 2-6 6-4 6-1.
“It was the best performance I had so far this week”.
“That is not the story”, Federer said after beating Murray.
“It was a solid first set, but whatever happened in the next 45 minutes – I don’t want to remember it”, Djokovic said. He also took a medical timeout during the final set to get the bottom of his right foot bandaged.
In her first scheduled tournament after Wimbledon, Williams played one match in Bastad, Sweden, before pulling out after the victory to protect her sore elbow.