Toronto – Top seed Novak Djokovic came through two battles on a rain-soaked day at the Toronto Masters to move into the semi-finals.
The world number two, who came up empty-handed last weekend at the London Olympics, is making the best of his return to the ATP as the last showcase player in the mix at the pre-US Open event.
Djokovic will face off on Saturday - more rain is possible then - against compatriot Janko Tipsarevic, who dispatched Croatian Marin Cilic 6-2, 6-4 in a first match and then put out Spain's Marcel Granollers 6-4, 6-4 in the quarter-finals.
Djokovic needed almost two and a half hours to hold off tenacious Tommy Haas 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 as the 34-year-old German continued to roll back the years after playing three ATP finals since mid-June and winning a grass title over Roger Federer in Halle.
Djokovic started his longest day by defeating American Sam Querrey 6-4, 6-4 in a match which lasted just 65 minutes but which was interrupted for two and a half hours by a rainstorm.
“It's tough for players and fans,” said the Serb. “We have had no luck with the weather, We were all waiting around to play.”
Forecast for the weekend are slightly more promising but with some rain still in the outlook.
Djokovic lost his last match to his ninth-seeded compatriot Tipsarevic when the pair met on clay last spring in Madrid.
The second semi will be played between fourth seed Richard Gasquet and American John Isner.
Gasquet handed fourth seed Tomas Berdych a third consecutive opening loss with a 6-4, 6-2 scoreline then followed up in the quarters over American Mardy Fish 5-7, 6-1, 6-2.
“I tried to fight a lot and I defend well, I did a good match,” said Gasquet. “For sure to play two matches in a day, it's very difficult.
“I saw him (Fish) a little bit tired at the start of the second set. First set he played very good. I couldn't do anything. He was playing very good from the baseline, going to the net.
“I'm in the semi-finals, I'm feeling confident, so I'm sure I can win more. But it's a big challenge to return these kind of (big-serving) guys.”
Isner deflated Canadian hopes with his quarter-final win over Milos Raonic 7-6 (11/9), 6-4.
Unless weather co-operates over the weekend, the pre-US Open event could still be facing a possible delayed Monday conclusion.
“Monday is a possibility, but we'll get there after probably tomorrow night and have that discussion,” said tournament director Karl Hale, who has already lost seeds including Olympic gold medallist Andy Murray (knee injury) plus bronze medallist Juan Martin del Potro and doubles silver medallist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to opening defeats.
“As of right now, we're still on schedule to finish our 7pm final on Sunday.”
The afternoon final was moved back into the evening so as not to conflict with Olympic closing ceremonies in London. – Sapa-AFP