Federer to meet Murray in semis

CINCINNATI; Two-time winner Roger Federer and reigning champion Andy Murray lined up a top-two semi-final showdown at the Cincinnati Masters on Friday.

Federer, the world No 1 and top seed, never faced a break point as he dismissed former world No 1 Lleyton Hewitt of Australia 6-3, 6-4.

Third-seeded Murray rallied to beat French lucky loser Julien Benneteau 4-6, 6-3, 6-1. The fight eventually drained away from the 55th-ranked Frenchman after a marathon rally in game three of the second set — which ended when a Benneteau overhead caught the tape and kicked wide.

Federer and Murray will meet for the ninth time, and the Scot is one of the few players who can boast a commanding head-to-head record against the mighty Swiss. Federer beat Murray in the US Open final last year, but Murray has won all four of their meetings since, including two this year.

Federer is vying to add to the Cincinnati titles he won in 2005 and 2007, while Murray is seeking a second straight after beating Serbia’s Novak Djokovic in the final last year.

Rafael Nadal the world No 3 three and second seed, beat unseeded Czech Tomas Berdych 6-4, 7-5 to set up a semi-final rematch with fourth-seeded Djokovic. Djokovic beat ninth-seeded Frenchman Gilles Simon 6-4, 7-5.

Rogers Cup

TORONTO: Second-seeded Serena Williams stormed into the semi-finals of the Rogers Cup with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Lucie Safarova on Friday.

Williams, the reigning Wimbledon, Australian Open and US Open champion, made short work of the Czech qualifier, needing just 57 minutes to advance. Williams fired seven aces as she booked a meeting with fourth-seeded Russian Elena Dementieva, the woman she beat in an epic three-set semi-final at Wimbledon this year. Dementieva rallied to beat unseeded Aussie Samantha Stosur 6-7 (3/7), 6-1, 6-3.

The other semi-final will pit Russian Alisa Kleybanova against compatriot Maria Sharapova. Unseeded Kleybanova outlasted fifth-seeded Jelena Jankovic 6-7 (6/8), 7-6 (9/7), 6-2 in a match lasting more than three hours. Sharapova, the former No 1 who is still working her way back from a shoulder injury that sidelined her for 10 months, advanced with a 6-2, 7-6 (7/5) victory over 14th-seeded Pole Agnieszka Radwanska.