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August 24, 2009

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Federer, Djokovic set up Mason final

WORLD No. 1 Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic will contest the Cincinnati Masters final after both claimed impressive victories in Mason, Ohio, on Saturday.

Federer beat holder Andy Murray 6-2, 7-6 (8) while a rejuvenated Djokovic hammered former world No. 1 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 No. 2 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.

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.

In Toronto, Russia's Maria Sharapova took another big step in her comeback at the Rogers Cup on Saturday reaching her first final in more than year with a gritty 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 over Alisa Kleybanova.

Playing for a title for the first time since Amelia Island in April 2008, Sharapova will try to confirm her return from shoulder surgery with a victory when she takes on Elena Dementieva in the final.

Fourth seeded Dementieva advanced to her fourth final of the year with a clinical 7-6 (2), 6-1 win over world No. 2 Serena Williams.

Williams, who dashed Dementieva's grand slam dreams on her way to winning this year's Australian Open and Wimbledon titles, was swept off the court by the Russian.

Kleybanova, who needed three hours, 16 minutes to beat No. 5 Jelena Jankovic of Serbia in the quarterfinals, was up 3-1 in the third set. However, Sharapova clawed back, breaking her Russian rival twice to roar ahead 5-4. She then closed out the two-hour 37-minute match with consecutive aces.


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