|Djokovic motors into Cincy quarters as Federer ousted| CINCINNATI, Aug 16: World No. 1 Novak Djokovic has a remarkably clear road to the ATP Cincinnati Masters final after producing an efficient victory while third seed Roger Federer crashed out of the US Open tuneup event.
Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates after defeating Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain in the ATP Cincinnati Masters match in Mason, Ohio.
Djokovic was never in danger in his 6-3, 6-4 triumph over 53rd-ranked Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta, whom he finished off in 90 minutes on Wednesday.
Federer fell in a first-time meeting with Russian Andrey Rublev, who posted a 6-3, 6-4 upset.
Defending champion Djokovic will continue his quest in a Friday quarterfinal, taking on France’s Lucas Pouille, a 6-7 (3/7), 6-4, 6-2 winner over Russian Karen Khachanov.
Djokovic earned his eighth straight victory at Cincinnati on the first of two match points.
“I’m very pleased today. I beat a top quality player,” Djokovic said.
“It was straight sets but the score doesn’t indicate how tough it was.
“He had break points in both sets and I got out of trouble with some good serves. Overall, it was a really good match.”
Federer, the seven-time Cincinnati champion who turned 38 last week, was unable to make an impression on Rublev, playing only his second match since losing the Wimbledon final to Djokovic.
“I struggled on my serve early on. Got broken the first service games, and there you have it,” Federer said.
“That sort of set the tone for the match maybe a little bit.
“But the combination was tough: he was playing well. I was maybe struggling especially on the offensive. I didn’t think I was feeling the ball badly, but sometimes can’t rely on that serve to the one-two punch.”
Rublev, a 21-year-old Russian qualifier who missed months last season with injury, was shell-shocked at his win over the 20-time Grand Slam champion.
“It’s an amazing feeling when you play such a legend as Roger,” he said.
“At least 99 per cent of the crowd was supporting him.
“Today I was just trying to do my best. I told myself I need to play every point to the end. No matter what the situation, I kept fighting.”
Swiss third seed Federer went down to the World No. 70 in barely an hour, losing for only the 10th time here after winning 47 matches.
“He was super clean,” Federer said.
“Defence, offence, serving well. Didn’t give me anything. He was everywhere. So it was tough for me, but excellent match by him. I was impressed.”
Rublev earned his second top-five win in a month after beating Dominic Thiem in Hamburg on his way to the final.
Women’s top seed Ashleigh Barty held off Anett Kontaveit as the Estonian served for victory before the top seed scraped a 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 triumph into the WTA event quarterfinals.
The win keeps the Australian in the chase for a possible return to the WTA number one ranking, which she lost to Naomi Osaka on Monday. Barty needs to reach Sunday’s final in order to regain the ranking summit. – AFP