Commentary

Djokovic, Ivanovic in final tune-ups before U.S. Open

Ana Ivanovic returns this week to the site of the biggest tournament title of her career. Can the 19-year-old, who won last week in Los Angeles, continue her winning ways north of the border in her final event before the U.S. Open?

Updated: August 14, 2007, 1:47 PM ET
By Keith Hawkins | ESPN.com

Prior to 2007, Novak Djokovic's best result at a Masters Series event was a quarterfinal finish in Madrid last year.

Now, the 20-year-old Serbian is on the verge of becoming only the second player to reach the final of all four North American Masters Series events in the same season.

Novak Djokovic

Djokovic

Since the advent of the series in 1990, only Andre Agassi has reached the final of all four North American Masters Series events in the same calendar year. In 1995, Agassi lost at Indian Wells and then won the shields in Miami, Canada and Cincinnati.

In order for Djokovic to reach the final of this week's Western & Southern Financial Group Masters in Cincinnati, he'll likely have to beat Roger Federer for the second time in seven days. Federer is the top seed while Djokovic is the fourth seed, so if the draw plays out, the two would meet in Saturday's semifinals. With a title in Cincinnati, Djokovic would become just the third player, along with Agassi (1995) and Federer (2005-06), to win three of the four North American Masters Series events in the same year.

Other notes from Cincinnati:

• Djokovic is 21-4 at Masters Series events in 2007. Prior to this year, he was a combined 7-9.

• Federer is one shy of becoming the 10th player with 50 career titles. If he doesn't win this week, it will be the first time since '03 that he has been shut out on the North American Masters Series.

• Rafael Nadal is going for a fourth Masters Series shield in 2007. He already has titles at Indian Wells, Monte Carlo and Rome. A title would be the second time he has won four Masters Series shields in the same season (2005).

• 2002 was the last time there was a different winner at each of the four North American events.

Ivanovic ready to defend Rogers Cup title
Can Ana Ivanovic make it a Serbian sweep north of the border this week in Toronto? (Her compatriot, Novak Djokovic, won last week's Rogers Cup men's event in Montreal.)

Ana Ivanovic

Ivanovic

Ivanovic won the Rogers Cup tournament last year. Seeded fourth, she will begin defense of her title against Yan Zi of China. Martina Hingis, who lost to Ivanovic in last year's final, is the last player to win the Rogers Cup in back-to-back years (1999-2000).

If Ivanovic reaches the semifinals, she would likely face top-seeded Justine Henin, who is playing for the first time since her semifinal loss at Wimbledon. Ivanovic, who is the defending champion in the U.S. Open Series standings, currently is seventh heading into Canada. Maria Sharapova currently leads the series with 122 points, but she won't play again until the U.S. Open. The world No. 2 withdrew from the Rogers Cup following a leg injury last week in Los Angeles.

News and notes
The highest-seeded players appearing at next week's Pilot Pen in New Haven, Conn., are Nikolay Davydenko and Svetlana Kuznetsova, both ranked No. 5 on their respective tours. … Sania Mirza, who is not playing in Toronto but will play at the Pilot Pen, cracked the top 30 for the first time in her career. The 20-year-old from India is 12-4 in hard-court events since Wimbledon, with three of her four losses coming against the No. 1 seed in the tournament. Mirza -- who started the year ranked 66th -- likely will be seeded at the U.S. Open; she has been seeded in a Grand Slam only once before. … The Hawk-Eye Officiating system will make its Fed Cup debut at the final in Moscow. Similar to its Davis Cup debut in the 2006 finals, challenges will not be limited and players will be allowed to make any number of reasonable challenges in each set. Russia takes on defending champion Italy on Sept. 15-16.

Keith Hawkins is the tennis editor for ESPN.com. ESPN.com news services contributed to this report.