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Azarenka & Williams Semifinal Clash Set

Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams will meet on an electric Saturday night at the Rogers Cup.

Published August 12, 2011 12:00

Azarenka & Williams Semifinal Clash Set
Victoria Azarenka

TORONTO, Canada - For the second straight match she was down a set, but as she said the first time, the thought of losing never crosses her mind. Serena Williams came roaring back for a 46 63 62 victory over Lucie Safarova and moved into the semifinals of the $2,050,000 Rogers Cup on Friday night.

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Safarova broke Williams in the seventh game of the match and held onto that break to take the first set - but it was a slippery slope from there, as Williams' serving and returning only got better, and an hour and 23 minutes later Safarova was shaking the 13-time Grand Slam champion's hand at the net.

"It was more or less about taking my game to a higher level and not remaining on the same platform," Williams said. "Lefties are different too, and it took getting used to. I hadn't played Lucie in a long time. I forgot how she plays, and she's a great player and doing so well. Once I got used to it, it was better."

Williams also commented on the Toronto crowds, who have been very vocally behind her this week. "I love the spectators in Toronto. I love Toronto. I've been getting really wonderful support, and it's just been amazing. Me likey."

Next for Williams will be No.4 seed Victoria Azarenka, who ended the run of Kazakh qualifier Galina Voskoboeva, 61 62. Azarenka has lost just six games to get to the semifinals (60 60, 61 62 and 61 62 are her scores).

"I'm focused on my game and trying to execute my shots and moving, not so much on my opponent's game," Azarenka said. "For me it's important to stay on the court when I'm on the court, to give my best every time on every point."

Williams leads Azarenka in their head-to-head series, 4-1.

"Since she has been back, she has been showing some excellent tennis," Azarenka said. "I saw her play in Stanford. She played great. It doesn't matter if she didn't play for a year, she's done it before. She knows how to play tennis."

"She's the better ranked player and she's had a fantastic tournament," Williams said. "She's a power player. She's smart, she's young, she has fresh legs. She has everything going for her right now. And me, I'm just going to do my best."

Azarenka could rise to No.3 in the world by winning the title this week.

The other semifinal will pit No.10 seed Samantha Stosur against No.13 seed Agnieszka Radwanska. Stosur broke away from 4-all in the first set against Roberta Vinci, winning seven straight games and eventually close out a 64 61 win; Radwanska followed with a 64 63 win over No.11 seed Andrea Petkovic.

"Agnieszka plays a different style," Stosur said. "She likes to absorb the pace and move the ball around. She works out what's going on quite well. I've got to be aware of my unforced errors and really keep those to a minimum."

"We've played a couple of times before, but I don't know the statistics to be honest," Radwanska said. "Playing her is always tough. I just have to play my best to beat her tomorrow. It will be a completely different match than today."

Stosur and Radwanska are tied in their head-to-head series, 1-1.

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