London, 18 August 2019 (dpa/MIA) – Daniil Medvedev made his second successive Masters final as he battled from behind to overcome world number one Novak Djokovic 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 in Cincinnati’s Saturday semi-finals.
Medvedev moves on to face Belgium’s David Goffin on Sunday after he reached his first ever Masters final by defeating Richard Gasquet 6-3, 6-4.
There was another upset in the women’s draw as two-time grand slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova after the Russian claimed a 6-2, 6-4 win to end Barty’s hopes of regaining world number one status.
Madison Keys will play Kuznetsova in Sunday’s final after she battled past fellow American Sofia Kenin 7-5, 6-4.
“Madison is extremely tough,” Kuznetsova added. “When she’s on fire, it’s really hard to play against her. It’s going to be a difficult matchup.”
Defending Cincinnati champion Djokovic dominated in the early rally exchanges during the first set and earned the first break at 4-2 as Medvedev folded with a netted backhand.
Another careless error on the world number eight’s forehand finalised the first set, but he vastly improved in the second.
The 23-year-old Medvedev, who lost the Montreal Masters final to Rafael Nadal in Canada last week, pounced with a ferocious forehand to break Djokovic at 5-3 and served successfully for a decider.
Top-seeded Djokovic, who is the only player to win all nine Masters titles with victory in Ohio last year, was rattled by the Russian’s aggression as Medvedev moved 3-1 ahead with a break.
Medvedev raced through a ruthless service game to assume a commanding 5-3 lead in the third as Djokovic’s time in Cincinnati was nearing its end.
The 32-year-old Serb’s campaign for a 34th Masters title was finished when Medvedev unleashed a triumphant cross-court winner, which Djokovic applauded with a sporting thumbs up gesture.
Australia’s Barty needed to reach the final to overtake top-ranked Naomi Osaka, who pulled out with injury on Friday, but Kuznetsova stormed through in 68 minutes for a revitalizing victory.
“I’m not really an analyzing person, but I’m doing so much better,” said Kuznetsova, who is now ranked at number 153 after periods of inactivity.
“I have missed it and I feel good. I feel joy staying here. (It) definitely helped me to have some time off to see other things out of tennis.”
It is 34-year-old Kuznetsova’s first final in nearly a year after she beat Croatia’s Donna Vekic in Washington’s 2018 Citi Open.
Kuznetsova, who won the 2004 US Open and 2009 French Open, had to recover from a poor start as she trailed Barty 2-0.
However, she surged through the next six games to take the first set as Barty’s error count started to pile up to a match total of 27.
Kuznetsova, who was given a wildcard in Ohio, broke first in the second set to round off a run of eight straight games.
The French Open champion Barty tried to fight for a break point opportunity, but no chance would arrive.
Kuznetsova held serve confidently and another failed return from Barty on match point helped her through.
Meanwhile, Goffin ended a seven-year wait to know what it feels like to be a Masters finalist.
“I’m really happy,” he said. “It’s a tournament I like and I’ve played the best tennis here in Cincinnati the past few years. It’s a great moment for me.”
The 28-year-old began the match with blistering groundstrokes as he surged 4-1 in front with a bullish backhand down the line en route to sealing the first set.
A slow start in the second frame saw Goffin fall 2-0 behind, but the world number 19 racked up five of the next six games to stretch into a match-winning position.
Goffin, who made the semi-finals in Cincinnati last year, watched a Gasquet backhand fly long to go one step further after one hour and 16 minutes.