Cincinnati: Roger Federer continued his mastery over Stan Wawrinka, but not before getting a fright en route to a 6-7(2), 7-6(6), 6-2 quarter-final victory at the Cincinnati Masters on Friday.
Federer upped his career record against his Swiss compatriot to 21-3.
A match that started with a low key atmosphere developed into a cracking affair when Federer took the second set tiebreak as lightning reverberated near the stadium.
Play was finally halted two points into the third set. Federer was in a different class once the match resumed after a short delay.
While Federer narrowly avoided an early exit, another high seed was sent packing, as number four Juan Martin del Potro fell to diminutive Belgian David Goffin 7-6(5) 7-6(4).
Goffin closed out a tight match with a backhand winner down the baseline.
His reward is a Saturday evening semi-final against Federer, while the other last four clash will match former world number one Novak Djokovic of Serbia against Croatia’s Marin Cilic.
It was a busy day for 10th seeded Djokovic, who came from behind to oust defending champion Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria 2-6 6-3 6-4 in the conclusion of a third-round match carried over from Thursday.
Only a couple of hours later, Djokovic stopped Milos Raonic 7-5 4-6 6-3, improving his career record to a perfect 9-0 against the Canadian.
“I’m very pleased with my fighting spirit and staying mentally tough to overcome deficits in both matches,” Djokovic said.
“Obviously the match against Dimitrov yesterday didn’t start so well for me. He started tremendously well. We were not the only ones (dealing with interruptions), but it just makes it harder, because you’re warming up, you’re cooling down.
“We went home around 10.30, came back this morning again to play him, and then (had a) couple hours of rest.
“And to go back on the court again against Raonic, who was serving 140-plus miles (per hour) from the first game, that got me going, for sure, from the beginning.” Former champion Cilic made his way to the semi-finals with a 7-6(5) 3-6 6-4 third-round win over Russia’s Karen Khachanov before toppling Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta 7-6(7) 6-4.
World number one Simona Halep pulled double duty at the weather-hit Cincinnati event on Friday, beating Ashleigh Barty then Lesia Tsurenko to claim a place in the semi-finals.
After beating Australian Barty 7-5 6-4 earlier in the day, Halep took her winning streak to eight matches with a 6-4 6-1 win over Tsurenko, who had triple break point to take a 5-1 lead in the first set but could not capitalise and saw the match swing away from her.
The top seed was unstoppable once she found her rhythm and confidence, winning 11 of the final 12 games to continue her winning streak stretching back to last week’s Rogers Cup.
“It was a tough day,” said the Romanian. “I’m really tired but I’m happy that I could win both.
“After I won Montreal, I said that I want to come here to win some more matches, because after winning a title is always the feeling that ‘let’s do more.’” Her semi-final opponent Sabalenka had staved off match points in her two previous matches and managed to do it again on Friday, using her big serve to wriggle out of trouble against 13th seeded Keys.
Eighth seed Kvitova recovered from going down an early break in the third set to beat Belgian Elise Mertens 7-5 5-7 6-3.
“Luckily I (had) good second serves, which was very important for me to put it back to the court and play some rallies,” said the Czech.
“I really need to play more aggressive. That’s how I made those important points.” Bertens trailed 4-1 in the opening set against Ukrainian fifth seed Elina Svitolina but it was one-way traffic once the Dutch player’s serve clicked into gear and she closed out the match 6-4 6-3.