Serena Storms Into Final Four

Serena Williams swept past Lucie Safarova on Friday to reach the Rogers Cup semifinals.

Published August 21, 2009 11:59


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TORONTO, Canada - Serena Williams and Elena Dementieva played arguably the most exciting match of the year in the semifinals of Wimbledon and they will do it all over again in the same round in Toronto, after both won quarterfinals at the Rogers Cup Friday.  Toronto: QF Highlights

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Dementieva, ranked No.5 in the world and the No.4 seed here, was the first to advance, regrouping after letting the first set slip to beat Samantha Stosur, 67(3) 61 63. Dementieva had a set point at 5-4 in the first set but would not capitalize; after dropping the ensuing tie-break she went on a tear however, cruising through the second set and breaking away again from 3-all in the third set to complete the victory.  Highlights: Dementieva vs. Stosur

"The first set was disappointing, because I was able to break a couple times but I couldn't win my own serve. It was unusual, because she has one of the biggest serves on the Tour," Dementieva said. "I tried to forget about the tie-break as quickly as possible and just focus on the second set. I needed to play more aggressively and focus on myself." Interview: Elena Dementieva

Williams, ranked and seeded No.2, had a far easier time in her match, easing past qualifier Lucie Safarova, 63 62.  Highlights: S.Williams vs. Safarova

"I actually felt really good out there. I felt like I was really consistent. I felt like I was moving really well. Yeah, I felt good," Williams declared. "I'm just trying to play my way into the tournament."  Interview: Serena Williams

Williams is 6-3 against Dementieva, but Dementieva's three wins came all in a row between the fall of 2007 and earlier this year, and in their last duel at Wimbledon she very nearly won, holding match point at 5-4 in the third before falling to eventual champion Williams, 67(4) 75 86. On that match point she went for a backhand crosscourt pass - Williams hit an inside out backhand volley that skimmed the tape as it went over for a winner.

"I feel like it was one of the best matches of my career, even though I lost," Dementieva said. "Tomorrow will be completely different because it'll be on hardcourt, and there are a lot of things I took from our last match, some positive things. Overall it was a great experience. I hope to play well again tomorrow."  Shot of the Day: Elena Dementieva

"I think it'll be a great match," Williams said. "She's obviously a great player. We've been playing each other a lot this year. It'll be good."

The other two quarterfinals took place under the lights, beginning with Alisa Kleybanova upsetting No.5 seed Jelena Jankovic in a three-hour, 16-minute marathon, 67(6) 76(7) 62. Kleybanova missed out on five set points in the first set and another five in the second set before Jankovic got to match point at 7-6 in the second set tie-break; but Kleybanova slammed a massive backhand, followed it into the net and put away a forehand volley to stay in it, won the tie-break and pulled away from 2-all in the third with four easy games to close the nail-biter out. The Russian's win over the world No.4 was her third Top 10 win of the year, all over Top 5 players.  Highlights: Kleybanova vs. Jankovic

"I've had some tough matches this week but I'm still alive. I hope to survive another one," said Kleybanova, who had to save six match points in one of her earlier matches of the tournament, against No.16 seed Dominika Cibulkova in the second round. "I still feel pretty fresh right now. But it's too early to talk about it - normally after such matches, the worst things happen the next day."  Interview: Alisa Kleybanova

"I tried my best. I had my chances. I needed a little bit more power to finish the match," Jankovic said. "But it was very difficult for me to play her. She plays so tough. She hits those shots, so low and so flat. It gave me a lot of trouble. I wasn't able to attack. I'd pull her off the court and all of a sudden she would hit the line - I don't know how she came up with some of those shots."

In the last match of the day, Maria Sharapova beat No.14 seed Agnieszka Radwanska, 62 76(5), rallying from 2-5 in the second set to close her Polish opponent out in straight sets. Sharapova and Kleybanova have never played.

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