MASON, Ohio (AP) – Novak Djokovic played his best match.
Williams, who has now won 42 straight matches on U.S. hardcourts, beat Ivanovic in three sets in last year’s Cincinnati final.
Djokovic also survived a scare in the pursuit of a first career Cincinnati title, with the top seed holding off David Goffin 6-4, 2-6, 6-3.
The 12th-ranked Swiss teenager who beat Serena Williams and Simona Halep on her way to the Toronto trophy last weekend, lasted only 33 minutes, receiving treatment midway through the set on her right arm. To hold her game together, it seems she often suffers on court, near tears at times, especially in matches that matter.
Two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka had to stop with leg pain after being taped at the end of the first set, handing a 1-6, 3-0 win to Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
For although Nadal has won three titles this year, he has struggled to regain his form since missing the latter half of 2014 with injury and illness.
Williams, who will be chasing a calendar sweep of the four grand slams at the August 31-Sept.
Williams got only 46 percent of her first serves in play and had 36 unforced errors.
The 13th-seeded Goffin on Thursday afternoon won nine of 11 games to win the second set and take a 3-0 lead with two service breaks in the decider.
Bencic, who did not face a single break point against Pennetta, will square off with another top-10 player in the round of 16 tomorrow when she faces Lucie Safarova.
“What worked really well for me today was composure, getting back in that state of being poised”, Williams said later.
As he has played more matches, Djokovic said that routine has become more, well, routine. “Especially Serena – every time she was down and her back against the wall, she came up with the best shots”.
When he wasn’t making mischief, Djokovic spent the day shredding Wawrinka’s serve.
“I’m extremely happy with the way I’m playing, it’s nice to play Andy“, Federer said. It came down to a tie-breaker, and a lithe Lopez attacked with an overhead victor and two aces-making 43 winners for the match-to win 7-6(3) after nearly two and a half hours of gripping tennis. Dolgopolov had never made it past the first round in four previous Cincinnati appearances. He gritted through another one, taking control by winning five consecutive games in the second set.
He also continued to feel good physically a week after he received on-court treatment for an elbow ailment at the Rogers Cup in Montreal. It was one of those nights when everything seemed to fall into place for the Swiss great.