Murray, Djokovic to meet in injury-hit Cincinnati final
By Bill Scott Aug 20, 2011, 21:53 GMT
Cincinnati, Ohio - Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic will both carry minor discomforts into Sunday's Cincinnati Masters finals.
Number one Djokovic reached the final with his 57th win of the season as Tomas Berdych could not finish in the face of a shoulder injury. The Czech spent just 52 minutes on court, retiring after losing the opening set in which he had led Djokovic 5-3.
Murray escaped Mardy Fish 6-3, 7-6 (10-8) in another match with both players hurting - Murray with a hamstring and Fish with a heel.
With the US Open starting on August 29, regaining fitness will be key for the field, with the injury victims including Rafael Nadal, who has heavily bandaged fingers after a restaurant burn.
Djokovic easily earned a comeback against the hampered Berdych, who beat Roger Federer in the quarter-finals while playing through his bad shoulder.
'We both have the same injury - his is just more serious,' said nine-time 2011 title winner Djokovic. 'It's too bad it had to finish this way. All the top players play so much, and the schedule is taking a toll. But it's normal. You can't be 100 per cent all the time.'
Djokovic leads Murray 6-3, winning both of their meetings this year.
The fourth-seeded Murray, who won the 2008 title, admitted to cramping in his match.
'I had to go for it. Mardy was starting to play better in the second set. I didn't want to play a third,' Murray said.
'My hamstrings started tightening up occasionally, but they were OK on the full stretch. I was just rolling my serve in. But the cramps only came and went.'
2010 finalist Fish will take some rest for his heel before the Open.
'It doesn't feel great. It's not going to go away until I stop playing. Nine matches in two weeks doesn't help it. But it had zero effect on the outcome of the match.
'I'll take two, three, four days off and regroup and get away from the court. It's just mentally getting away from having to come back day after day and keep playing match after match.'
Fish could not follow up on his upset a day earlier of Nadal.
The number seven was broken after winning 30 service games this week as Murray tagged him for 3-1 in the opening set after the American saved three break points.
Fish fought from 1-4 down but was unable to close the gap. His level lifted in a second set littered with six breaks of serve. The US player, who won Atlanta and reached Los Angeles and Montreal finals over the last five weeks, saved a Murray match point in the second-set tiebreaker with a backhand to the corner.
Murray foiled Fish on a set point before clinching victory in two and a quarter hours. Fish salvaged another match winner in the tight concluding chapter as a Murray return was ruled out by 1 millimetre by the Hawk-eye electronic line judging system.
The Scot advanced into the final on his second winning chance.
In later women's semi-finals, Russians Vera Zvonareva and Maria Sharapova were to face off, while Serbian-born German Andrea Petkovic was to play Serb Jelena Jankovic.
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