Cincinnati - Serena Williams moved within one win of a second pre-US Open hardcourt title
Saturday, reaching the Cincinnati final with a 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 victory over
The world number one American, who claimed her 61st career WTA title at
Stanford two weeks ago, will face off on Sunday against either fifth-seeded
Maria Sharapova or ninth-seeded Ana Ivanovic.
Those two were meeting Saturday night in a battle of former world number
Williams, playing a third tournament in a row for the first time since late
2007, improved her 2014 match record to 37-6.
The 32-year-old said that she needed a set to find her game after a slow
start in a match which featured 15 breaks of serve, seven of them in the final
"I was feeling tired today, so in the second set I just told myself to
hit big serves," said Williams, who followed up her win in Stanford by
reaching the semi-finals last week at Montreal, where she lost to her sister
"I gave all that I had in me today," she said. "I didn't
expect to do this well over the summer. I knew I needed matches so I entered
three tournaments. But I'm still here."
Wozniacki came to the match after beating two top 10 players in a row -
Angelique Kerber and Agnieszka Radwanska - for first time since the 2010 WTA
Wozniacki, who lost to Williams in three sets in the Montreal
quarter-finals, won the opening set in half an hour despite double-faulting
away a service game.
But Williams stepped up a gear in the second, helped to an early break by
another of Wozniacki's double faults.
The third was a roller-coaster for both players, who are good friends off
After five straight breaks of serve, Williams finally stopped as she held
for a 4-2 lead.
She secured another break for 5-2 but then had to face a Wozniacki
fightback, with the former number one reaching 4-5.
Williams finally closed it out in the next game after a game later after an
hour and three-quarters. She finished with seven aces and benefitted from eight
Wozniacki double faults.
"I knew I had to return better, and today I was able to do that,"
Williams said. "I actually felt better than in my other matches."
Russian superstar Sharapova, who leads Ivanovic 8-3 in their career series,
was not expecting an easy time on court against the Serb.
"The tournament is still not done," the French Open champion said.
"I certainly hope to raise my level and have a much better first set.
"It can't be any worse," she added in reference to her slow start
against Simona Halep in the quarter-finals. "I'm just happy to be in that