Djokovic beats Nadal, meets Federer in Cincinnati final

CINCINNATI: World number one Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic will contest the Cincinnati Masters
final after both claimed impressive victories on Saturday.

Federer beat holder Andy Murray 6-2 7-6 while a rejuvenated Djokovic hammered former world number one Rafa Nadal 6-1 6-4.

Murray was trying to become the fourth man to win the Canada and Cincinnati Masters Series titles back to back.

But he could not even force a single break point and the Swiss broke serve twice in the first set and then saved two set points in the tiebreak to reach the final.

"It was just overall a very good performance," said Federer, who beat world number two Murray for only the third time in their nine meetings.

"I stayed aggressive. I was always looking to make the plays and I think in the end I deserved to win, just because I wasn''t scared to go after my shots. And I think I served well."

Attacking from the start, Federer broke Murray''s serve in the fourth and eighth games to take the first set.

The Briton battled hard to stay on terms in the second set and forced two set points, at 6-5 and 8-7.

But Federer saved the first with a big serve and the second when Murray''s attempted backhand pass landed inches wide, before going on to win it 10-8.

In three of their most recent four meetings, Federer won the first set only to lose the match.

This time, the Swiss said, he felt he would have been confident of victory even had the match gone to a decider.

"(In some of the matches), I really felt like, this is going to get really hard in the third set. I kind of felt it
coming that I was not going to win the match.

"Today was different. Even if I were to lose that second set, I would have been in the match with a good mindset. I played a really good match."

Murray was pleased with his fightback in the second set, but disappointed at his overall performance.

"In the first set, I was leaving the ball short and giving him a lot of second serves to look at and not making a whole a lot of returns, so therefore I was unable to put any pressure on him," he said.

"He was going for his shots because I was leaving the ball in the middle of the court. But I was happy I managed to up my game in the second set."

Last year''s runner-up Djokovic produced his best performance of the American hardcourt season to see off Nadal, who was playing only his second tournament back after two months out with knee injuries.

The Serb forced Nadal into a series of uncharacteristic unforced errors and after claiming the first set in 29 minutes, he held off the Spaniard in the second to book a meeting with Federer.