Mason      -     Ashleigh Barty’s chance to move back to No. 1 was only one victory away. At the end of an up-and-down week, she didn’t have another comeback left.

Neither did Novak Djokovic, who came away with yet another disappointment in Cincinnati. Barty lost to Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-2, 6-4 in the semifinals of the Western & Southern Open on Saturday. Djokovic ended the day with another stunner, getting overwhelmed by Daniil Medvedev’s serve as the Russian pulled out a 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory. It’s been that kind of week in Cincinnati, with top players in both brackets either struggling or hurt heading into the U.S. Open.

The women’s bracket has a lot questions with New York just around the corner. No. 1 isn’t one of them. Barty’s seven-week run atop the field ended when Naomi Osaka edged ahead of her in the latest ranking. A victory Saturday would have moved Barty back ahead for the U.S. Open. Instead, she dropped the opening set for the third straight match and this time, there was no digging out.

Which will it be for Barty at the Open? And will Osaka be in good enough shape to defend her title? Osaka dropped out of her semifinal match Friday with discomfort in her left knee that caused her worry. She still plans to play in New York, but it’s unclear whether the knee will be a problem. And then there’s Serena Williams, who retired in the finals at Toronto last Sunday because of back spasms. She also withdrew from Cincinnati before her first match, but stuck around to cheer sister Venus until her loss in the quarterfinals. A resurgent Kuznetsova gave Barty no openings, knocking off a top-five player for the second time this week to reach her first final of the season.

The 153rd-ranked player is recovering from seven-month layoff because of a knee injury. In her ninth tournament of the season, she got her game together, winning her first Premier-level semifinal since 2017 at Madrid. She’ll face Madison Keys , who beat Sofia Kenin 7-5, 6-4 with the help of 14 aces.

In the men’s bracket, Djokovic overcame concerns about his right elbow but couldn’t prevail over Medvedev’s 14 aces, some of them on 128 mph second serves. Djokovic had to problem with his right elbow, which tightened on Friday night. Medvedev reached the final at Montreal last week and lost to Rafael Nadal. He’ll face David Goffin, who beat Richard Gasquet 6-3, 6-4.