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Djokovic to face Cilic as Cincinnati title dream draws closer

© GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP | Things are looking up: Novak Djokovic celebrates his win over Grigor Dimitrov

CINCINNATI (AFP) - 

Former world number one Novak Djokovic won his second match of the day on Friday to set up a semi-final clash at the ATP-WTA Cincinnati Masters with Marin Cilic.

Djokovic, a five-time finalist here who has never broken through, is aiming to lift the trophy at the only one of the Masters 1000 series events that he has never won.

The Serb tenth seed followed up a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 third-round defeat of holder Grigor Dimitrov earlier in the day of a rainy week by beating Milos Raonic 7-5, 4-6, 6-3.

It was the eighth win without a loss for Djokovic in the series with the Canadian.

"I've played five finals here, so that's pretty OK," Djokovic said. "But I do wish to win the title, without a doubt.

"I'm here to enjoy a sport that I love, I've got plenty of motivation.

"I'm in a good position, so I'll take it step by step."

Djokovic had to come from behind in the first and third sets, and helped seal the victory with a break for 5-3 in the third.

"Milos is one of the best servers in the game," Djokovic said. "Just a few points decided the winner.

"It's tough to play aggressive against someone serving that well. Tough to play against someone serving so big.

"I was fortunate to read his serve on several occasions."

Djokovic beat Raonic for the ninth time without a loss.

Cilic put out Spanish 13th seed Pablo Carreno Busta 7-6 (9/7), 6-4.

Women's top seed Simona Halep recovered from 1-4 down in the opening set, reversing her losing momentum to defeat Lesia Tsurenko 6-4, 6-1.

It was the second fightback of the day for Halep, who came from a break down in each set to overhaul Australian 16th seed Ashleigh Barty 7-5, 6-4 several hours earlier n the third round.

Double Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova reached the final four over Belgian Elise Mertens 7-5, 5-7, 6-3.

© 2018 AFP