Serena Williams rallied from a first set blowout to edge Caroline Wozniacki in a nail-biter at the Western & Southern Open. She's a win away from her first Cincy title.
WTA Staff

CINCINNATI, OH, USA - Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki wrote another thrilling chapter in their rivalry on Saturday, with Williams coming out on top this time at the Western & Southern Open.

Watch highlights, interviews and more video from Cincinnati right here on!

The Plot
Williams went into the semifinal match-up having dominated the pair's head-to-head, 7-1, but their last meeting came last week in the quarterfinals of the Rogers Cup in Montréal and it was a thriller, with Wozniacki leading 6-4, 4-2 at one point before Williams battled back to win in three sets.

The Turning Point
Things were just as tough this time, as Wozniacki came out extremely solid to take the first set in just 29 minutes, 6-2. Williams retaliated with a 6-2 scoreline of her own in the second set, but the third was a battle, with the first four games going against the server and, after Williams ran off three games in a row to go from 2-all to 5-2, Wozniacki sneaking two games for 5-4. The tension was building.

But the Williams serve has been going down as one of the best shots in the history of women's tennis and it held strong when it mattered most. The No.1-seeded American missed a forehand on the first point but reeled off the next four points in a row to close out the No.12-seeded Dane, 2-6, 6-2, 6-4.

By The Numbers
Williams is now a win away from her first Western & Southern Open title, and this is her sixth attempt at the tournament. Only one other tournament has been this elusive for the World No.1, and that's another Premier-level tournament: Sydney. She has played there six times before without winning it.

"In Montréal there were games where she aced me three times in a row, and I was like, 'Okay, next game.' But I felt like I got more returns back this time," Wozniacki said. "I just didn't serve well myself today. I didn't get many first serves in. When I did, they weren't placed very well. It's frustrating, because you lose a match 6-4 in the third and you only hold serve once in the third set. I actually broke Serena three times in the set, too - I don't think that really happens very often to her, either.

"I felt like my game was there. I was fighting. I was running. I was trying to take the ball early. I was returning well. Then my serve comes around and I can't seem to hold serve. It's frustrating."

"I got off to a little bit of a slow start, but I was definitely in it," Williams said after the match. "I was just physically grinding and trying to get in there and really just trying to grind out everything.

"She's a really good returner and she was getting everything back, and making some good shots. It wasn't just on the return, she was able to play some really good points after the return too. She's playing great tennis, even better than what she's been playing in the last couple years, taking that defense and adding a lot of offense to it and going for her shots. She does both really well."