MONTRÉAL, Canada - On Monday, Serena Williams said all the right things when confronted by the press for the first time since her alarming Wimbledon exit. However, as has been the case throughout her career, Williams made the most compelling argument about the health of her game on the court.
Wins over Karolina Pliskova, Ana Ivanovic and Andrea Petkovic at the Bank of the West Classic have taken Williams through to the 78th WTA final of her career, where she will meet either Angelique Kerber or Varvara Lepchenko.
While the draw in Stanford included four of the Top 10, if Williams can replicate this success at next week's Rogers Cup, where she is defending champion, then she will really put down a marker ahead of the US Open.
An impressive field is joining Williams in Montréal for the first of two back-to-back Premier 5 events, including Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, Maria Sharapova and WTA Rising Star Eugenie Bouchard. In fact, so strong is the line-up, only Simona Halep and the injured Li Na are missing from the Top 30.
With such strength and depth, it is no surprise that Friday's draw has thrown up the possibility of some intriguing early round clashes. Williams, who along with the other top eight seeds receives a first round bye, could meet Samantha Stosur in second round, with Bouchard and Sharapova likely to be waiting in the quarter and semifinals.
No.2 seed and 2012 champion Kvitova leads the way in the bottom half, where she is joined by Agnieszka Radwanska, Victoria Azarenka, Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic. Kvitova has not played since her Wimbledon triumph and will start against either Casey Dellacqua or Kirsten Flipkens.
Qualifying at the Uniprix Stadium draws to a close on Sunday, with main draw action getting underway on Monday.