Tennis: Gasquet to face Djokovic in Toronto final

AFP, Sunday 12 Aug 2012

Djokovic to play Frenchman Richard Gasquet in the Toronto Mastersfinal on Sunday

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic endured a second frustrating day of rain delays with the top seed defeating fellow Serb Janko Tipsarevic 6-4, 6-1 to reach the final of the Toronto Masters.

Djokovic, who came away empty-handed from the London Olympics, waited out a long rain interruption for the second day in a row as he and fifth seed Tipsarevic had to pause for 90 minutes in the sixth game of their semi-final.

Djokovic will take a 6-1 record into his Sunday night final with Frenchman Richard Gasquet, who defeated John Isner 7-6 (7/3), 6-3, with the American later withdrawing from the Cincinnati Masters with a bad back.

"We wanted to play and finish the match tonight," said world number two Djokovic, who makes no secret of his desire to replace rival Roger Federer on the top ATP spot. "Of course we cannot affect the weather, but it was good to get this match done.

"Number one is of course a motivation for me, I cannot lie. I want it again.

"But Roger deserves it right now, he won Wimbledon and is playing well. We are making each other great players," he said.

Djokovic, who won his last title in Miami in March, needed one and three-quarter hours to defeat Tipsarevic, who had won two of their last three.

The top seed broke three times and held off seven break points on his own serve, including four in the final game. He earned the win following a break of Tipsarevic for 5-1 which required four deuces.

Djokovic advanced on his second match point when Tipsarevic netted a forehand.

"I was not very happy with my first serve percentage," said the winner, who has won six of seven against Gasquet. "I tried to play patient and be consistent."

London Olympics doubles bronze medallist Gasquet is hoping to become the first French winner of the tournament in the post-1968 Open era.

The 26-year-old advanced in 80 minutes over Isner in a match played during a dry spell in what has been a miserable three days of rain in the area.

Gasquet was playing in his sixth Masters 1000 semi-final, reaching title matches in Hamburg in 2005 and Toronto a year later. He has six career titles.

Isner said shifting weather patterns dampened his concentration.

"It's pouring down rain when I arrived to the courts, and next thing you know it stops raining and you get 100 people out there and the courts are ready to go," said the American. "I didn't get to warm up for the match."

Gasquet, whose one-handed backhand is rated as one of the most flawless in the men's game, never let Isner into the match, running the big man around the court and forcing errors from the American eighth seed.

"The key of the match was to return well, and I did it," said Gasquet, now 30-15 this season.

"I had to do a big tiebreak, and I did it. I played incredible in the tiebreak and then I felt well."

Gasquet took the first set into a tiebreaker, earning a 4-2 lead off a passing shot before taking the 42-minute opener on the first of three set points with an overhead winner.

In the second, Gasquet broke for 4-2 with another pass past Isner and profited three games later from two consecutive forehand errors from his opponent to earn the victory.

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