Novak Djokovic overcame a battling Marin Cilic, 6-4 3-6 6-3, to reach his sixth Cincinnati Masters final on Saturday, while Roger Federer enjoyed a less-taxing route to the title match after his semi-final opponent David Goffin retired with a shoulder injury.
Federer had taken the first set, 7-6(3), and it was 1-1 in the second when Goffin called it a night.
While Djokovic, who has lost all five of his previous Cincinnati finals, was not at his best in a match that stretched for two hours and 32 minutes, the Serb came through on the big points.
"It's been a rollercoaster week with matches, interruptions, and rain delays and everything," Djokovic said.
"I managed to win the last three matches in the third set. Very few points decided a winner and I just managed to pull through."
After dropping the second set, Djokovic broke to go 3-1 up in the decider before complaining to the chair umpire about music that was audible from outside centre court.
It seemed to break Djokovic's concentration as he immediately went down 0-40 on serve before digging his way back to deuce, only to lose the game with a weak second serve into the net.
However, Djokovic broke back in the eighth game before serving out clinically to secure victory.
"I didn't like that music in the first few games of the third set," he said, adding that he planned to watch the Federer-Goffin semi-final on television.
"Of course, I'll watch, from my bed or bath," he said.
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