With Goffin's retirement, Federer into eighth Cincinnati Masters final

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Best of five, of best of three? Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic have different thoughts how long tennis should be played:

Roger Federer advanced past David Goffin in the second semifinal of the Western & Southern Open on Saturday night, setting up a title fight against Novak Djokovic. It's the fourth time the living legends will do battle for the Midwestern Masters 1000 title.

Having done double duty on Friday, winning his third-round match against Leonardo Mayer during the day session then squeaking out a three-set quarterfinal against Stan Wawrinka at night, the No. 2-seeded Federer stepped back onto center court on Saturday night for his semifinal match against Goffin and won when the No. 11-seeded Belgian retired down 7-6 (3), 1-1 due to a shoulder injury.

Neither player was broken in any of their seven service games; Federer hasn't been broken in 43 service games so far this week.

Federer has also never lost a semifinal or final at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. With his win over Goffin on Saturday night he improved to 8-0 in his career in semifinals at this event, and he’s a perfect 7-0 in finals, too, capturing the title in 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2015.

Awaiting Federer in this year’s final will be a very familiar opponent—Djokovic, who won his semifinal earlier in the day against Marin Cilic.

Federer and Djokovic have played each other 45 times, and the split couldn’t be closer: not only is the Serb just ahead in the overall head-to-head, 23-22, but they’re a dead even 17-17 on hardcourts.

There is a slice of the head-to-head that leans Federer’s way: he’s 3-0 against Djokovic in Cincinnati, beating him in the 2009 final (6-1, 7-5), the 2012 final (6-0, 7-6 (7)) and the 2015 final (7-6 (1), 6-3).

Should Djokovic win, he’ll become the first player ever to complete a “Golden Masters”: winning all nine Masters 1000s at least one time each. Djokovic has won Indian Wells five times, Miami six times, Monte Carlo two times, Madrid two times, Rome four times, Canada four times, Shanghai three times and Paris four times. He's 0-5 in Cincinnati finals.

Federer will be going for his eighth Cincinnati title, 28th Masters 1000 title and 99th overall ATP title.


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