World number one Novak Djokovic and number two Andy Murray crashed out of the Western and Southern Open within an hour of each other on Friday, before Rafa Nadal restored order with a win over old rival Roger Federer.
With the sprawling Lindner Family Tennis Center still buzzing over John Isner’s 7-6 (5) 3-6 7-5 quarter-final upset of Djokovic, another bombshell dropped on the nearby grandstand court as Tomas Berdych swept past U.S. Open champion Murray 6-3 6-4, creating shockwaves that will carry through to Flushing Meadows.
The upsets of two of the grand slam’s biggest favourites have thrown the tournament wide open and added new contenders to the usual suspects.
But world number three Nadal underlined his claims by taming Swiss arch-rival and five-times Cincinnati champion Federer 5-7 6-4 6-3.
Federer and Nadal, meeting for the 31st time in their storied careers, treated the packed centre court to high-quality tennis that had some convinced that the Swiss maestro, winner of a record 17 grand slams and the muscular Spaniard, 12-time grand slam champion, were still the two top players in the world.