Jelena Jankovic looks to reclaim her Western & Southern Open title from 2009.
© Eric M. Spohn
By Erwin Ong
CINCINNATI -- The semifinal matches for both the men’s and women’s draws of the 2013 Western & Southern Open are set for Saturday, and will include an evening match between defending champion Li Na and World No. 1 Serena Williams.
The day session opens with seventh seed Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina facing American John Isner. This will be the second meeting in three weeks between the two lanky giants. Del Potro, 6’6", beat Isner in the finals of the Citi Open in Washington, D.C. earlier this month.
Isner, who stands at four inches taller than Del Potro, has some momentum going into the match with his upset of World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals. Isner will rely on his big game to take down the seventh seed. "I try to hold serve as much as I can," said Isner, "and then I take it from there." The American, who will re-enter the Top 20 when the latest ATP rankings are released on Monday, has amassed a 15-3 win-loss record for the summer hard court season.
The second semifinal will have Rafael Nadal taking on Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic. Nadal endured a three-set match against Roger Federer, winning 7-5, 4-6, 6-2. Berdych had a much easier time reaching the semis with this 6-3, 6-4 upset of Andy Murray.
The evening matches will feature the two semifinals on the ladies’ side. No. 1 seed Serena Williams faces Western & Southern Open defending champion Li Na. "[Li] is so fit," said Williams about her Chinese opponent. "It will be a really tough match."
14th seed Jelena Jankovic, who beat Roberta Vinci in straight sets in their quarterfinal, will face the winner of a match between Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki, played as the last match on Friday's evening session.
In men’s doubles, Spaniards Granollers and Lopez go up against Bopanna of India and Roger-Vasselin of France followed by the No. 1 Bryan Brothers playing Gonzalez of Mexico and American Scott Lipsky.