And he followed that up by maintaining a 100 per cent record from nine meetings with Raonic, Djokovic accounting for the Canadian 7-5 4-6 6-3, before losing his auto in the parking lot, to the amusement of fans making their way home from the event.
"I could see that he was unhappy, but I thought he was going to play on".
"We played a tough match in Queen's, but that's grass and definitely different".
By entering the final, Čilić would jump to fifth place in the individual ATP ranking, and by winning his second title in Cincinnati, he would skip Alexander Zverev to be the fourth best tennis player in the world.
Rain wreaked havoc on Thursday's schedule, leading to several players having to take the court twice on Friday. We were not the only ones (dealing with interruptions), but it just makes it harder, because you're warming up, you're cooling down.More news: Eden Hazard confirms Chelsea stay - Premier League 2018
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Djokovic battled through a tough match against the Canadian to emerge as an 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 victor.
Milos Raonic would again break Djokovic's serve, this time to take a 2-1 lead early in the third set.
"I feel like I'm trying to defend my title from way back when", he said. "I sat down and felt so heavy".
Spectators were treated to a tight contest late in the day, when Belgian 11th seed Goffin edged world number three Del Potro 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-4). She has good game to be here.
Del Potro defeated 15th-seeded Australian Nick Kyrgios 7-6 (4), 6-7 (6), 6-2 in his early match, while Federer cruised past Argentina's Leonardo Mayer 6-1, 7-6 (6). He would close out the set and match by a final set score of 6-4.
David Goffin's semi-final retirement set the pair up for a fourth final match-up in OH, the Belgian forced to withdraw due to arm and shoulder discomfort having trailed by one set.
The Romanian lost a title bid in Cincinnati in 2015 against Serena Williams and came up short a year ago to Garbine Muguruza. "I just played and waited for the important points to go for the victor". She'll play Aryna Sabalenka, who beat Madison Keys in straight sets.