Novak Djokovic is just one win away from completing a rare milestone in tennis, with Roger Federer out to stop the Serb’s incredible career feat.
Djokovic is again one match from creating history by winning the one ATP Masters 1000 title that eludes him.
And the same nemesis is standing in his way.
It’s a moment in time: Djokovic v Federer for a title.
Djokovic closed in on a maiden Cincinnati trophy with a 6-4 3-6 6-3 victory over Marin Cilic on Saturday.
He was not at his best in a match that stretched for two hours and 32 minutes but came through on the big points.
Djokovic then watched Roger Federer advance to the final when David Goffin retired with a shoulder injury early in the second set – with the score 7-6 (7-3) 1-1 in favour of the Swiss.
After more than two years since their past meeting in the semi-finals of the 2016 Australian Open, Djokovic and Federer are back for the 18th shared title match of their careers.
Djokovic leads in head-to-head title matches 11-6 and the overall series 23-22.
However, everyone knows who’s favoured in this one with Federer aiming for a 99th career title in his 150th final.
“It would be the greatest challenge in Cincinnati, without a doubt, because he’s been dominating this tournament historically,” Djokovic said.
The Serbian is attempting to become the first player to win all nine ATP Masters 1000 events since the series started in 1990.
“My sixth time, I’ll try to win the title,” he said.
“Obviously, this time I’m hoping I get my hands on the trophy.”
World No.2 Federer has won it an unprecedented seven times – unbeaten in finals.
Three of those wins came over Djokovic, who is 0-5 in Cincinnati deciders.
Federer has won 14 straight matches in Cincinnati and 17 of his past 18 sets.
He’s held 95 consecutive service games while dominating the tournament.
He won it in 2015 but was sidelined the last two years because of injuries.
“It’s great to be back in the finals, against Novak in particular,” Federer said.
“There’s a lot riding on the match. It’s great to refresh a rivalry we’ve had for many years.”