Ferrer brushes aside Benneteau, books Cincinnati final

New York: Spain`s David Ferrer brushed aside Julien Benneteau 6-3, 6-2 on Saturday to reach the Cincinnati Masters final.

Spain`s Ferrer, seeded sixth, schooled Benneteau as the Frenchman played in his first semi-final at the elite Masters 1000 level.

He needed just 71 minutes to seal the victory and give himself a shot at adding a second title of 2014 to the trophy he lifted in Buenos Aires.

The 32-year-old Spaniard also reached the final at Hamburg this year, but he last played a Masters final in November, when he lost to Novak Djokovic at Paris Bercy.

Ferrer will aim for his 22nd career trophy when he faces off on Sunday against either second-seeded Roger Federer or Canadian Milos Raonic, the fifth seed.

Ferrer, noted for his foot speed and dogged retrieving, got comfortable with a break in the opening set to take the opener in 39 minutes.

"I played very consistently, and got the break, then I could play with calm," he said, calling the match "maybe my best of the week".

"I played without a lot of mistakes but it was difficult to return sometimes."

Ferrer took a 4-1 lead in the second set and while Benneteau put up a last-gasp fight he was able to wait for the exhausted Frenchman to finally make an error on the fifth match point.

"I`m going step by step," Ferrer said. "Tennis is always a surprise. When I looked in my quarter of the draw and saw Novak Djokovic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga there, I knew it was not easy.

"But as they lost, I took my chance and got into the final. I`m trying to improve my game every day. Watching the top 10 guys is a great inspiration to improve also.

"I`m feeling very comfortable on hardcourts. On those I can play more with my timing than with power."

Federer has a 5-0 record over big-serving Raonic, including a straight-sets semi-final triumph at Wimbledon this year.

But the 17-time Grand Slam champion from Switzerland said he couldn`t afford to be complacent.

"I will focus on my own game, very simple and straightforward," he said. "Because of his serve, you just never feel you`re quite a peace, and especially in the best-of-three match. 

"If I`m playing well and my reaction is there, I feel good about my chances. I`m aware of how good Milos is on this kind of court."

In women`s action at the combined ATP and WTA event, top-seeded Serena Williams booked a finals berth with a 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 win over Caroline Wozniacki.

She`ll face the winner of the battle between former world number ones Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic.

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