Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are now just one win from a Friday night Cincinnati showdown. Tonight, Nadal advanced over Canadian Open semifinalist Jeremy Chardy in impressive fashion 6-3, 6-4 in a late night affair that didn’t begin until after 11:30pm!
“[In Montreal last week], in the quarter-finals, I didn’t compete as well as I wanted to,” said Nadal, who was eliminated in straight sets by Kei Nishikori in Canada. “But I am working hard, I had a positive start against [Chardy], a good opponent who won big matches last week and yesterday. Being through is great news for me, and I expect another tough match tomorrow.”
Nadal now takes on countryman Feliciano Lopez. Federer won Wednesday over Roberto Bautista Agut. He’ll face big-serving Kevin Anderson Thursday night.
Just before Nadal wrapped up at 12:45am, Canadian Open champion Andy Murray took out Mardy Fish 6-4, 7-6(1) in what the Scot called a “tricky affair”.
Murray now meets Grigor Dimitrov in a match slated for Court 3.
Fish, a 2-time finalist, was playing his final Cincinnati event.
Earlier, Novak Djokovic shrugged off a Canadian Open runner-up to defeat the unpredictable shotmaker Benoit Paire 7-5, 6-2.
“The instructions I got from my coach was ‘expect the unexpected,’ and that was the case,” said Djokovic. “He hits a lot of dropshots. He’s got a great backhand. He’s got a good serve. You couldn’t really predict what kind of shot comes your way, a slow spin ball or a fast flat one. So I had to stay alert all the time.
“We do see each other and went couple times for practice and recovery in south of France,” added Djokovic. “[Paire] is a really nice guy. He’s also nice to me in terms of practicing my French because he speaks to me in French. He allows me to work on it. Once the match was over there was a lot of smiles and a very respectful handshake. I definitely wish him all the best.”
Tomorrow afternoon, still in search of a first Cincinnati title the Serb takes on David Goffin who he thumped in this round two years ago 6-0, 6-2.
Ivo Karlovic will meet Stan Wawrinka, a 3-set winner today over a much younger Croat, the 18-year-old Borna Coric. And in another good one, Richard Gasquet collides with Marin Cilic.
Seven of the Top 8 seeds are alive in the event including former champions Federer, Murray and Nadal.
THURSDAY CINCINNATI SCHEDULE
ORDER OF PLAY – THURSDAY, 20 AUGUST 2015
CENTER start 11:00 am
WTA – B. Bencic (SUI) vs  L. Safarova (CZE)
Not Before 1:00 pm
ATP –  N. Djokovic (SRB) vs  D. Goffin (BEL)
Not Before 3:00 pm
WTA –  S. Williams (USA) vs K. Knapp (ITA)
ATP-Possible Court Change –  R. Nadal (ESP) vs F. Lopez (ESP)
ATP –  K. Anderson (RSA) vs  R. Federer (SUI)
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