Serena, Radwanska, Li, Cirstea advance to Toronto semis

Friday, August 09, 2013 /by
AP Photo
AP Photo

TORONTO -- Top-seeded Serena Williams eased into the Rogers Cup semifinals Friday night, overpowering Slovakia's Magdalena Rybarikova 6-1, 6-1.

Williams, coming off a seventh tournament victory of the last month in the Swedish Open, had seven aces and finished off Rybarikova in 60 minutes, 5 seconds.

"I'm definitely feeling pretty good, playing much better than I have the past month I would say," Williams said. "I'm glad I'm getting back to the feeling and getting into some rhythm."

The two-time Rogers Cup champion will face third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, a 7-6 (1), 7-5 winner over fifth-seeded Sara Errani of Italy.

"It's a good matchup," Williams said. "She does everything so well. She's playing better too actually so she's having a much better year. It's going to be an interesting match. It's definitely not going to be easy. I can only hope that I play well and I can only hope that I come out on top."

In the other quarterfinals, fourth-seeded Li Na of China beat Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova 7-6 (1), 6-2; and Romania's Sorana Cirstea upset sixth-seeded defending champion Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic 4-6, 7-5, 6-2.

Radwanska earned a measure of revenge after she was eliminated by Errani in the French Open quarterfinals.

Radwanska and Errani traded breaks virtually the entire first set before Radwanska took the tiebreaker after a smooth volley drop and wide return from Errani on set point. The two players again traded breaks in the second set until Radwanska held serve at 6-5 when Errani returned long on double match point.

Radwanska closed it out in just over two hours, avoiding any repeat of their 2012 meeting at the WTA Championship -- an epic 3½-hour, three-set victory for Radwanska.

Cirstea knocked off former top-ranked players Jelena Jankovic and Caroline Wozniacki to reach the quarterfinals.

"It's probably (my) best tournament in a long, long time," Cirstea said. "It might come as a surprise to many people ... I don't think for me and my team it's such a big surprise because we have been working consistently on things."

Kvitova double-faulted 10 times, her ninth coming on a break point for Cirstea to open the third set 1-0.

"The beginning of the second set I started to feel a little bit low of the energy," Kvitova said. "The serve was really bad after this, and I didn't find energy from my legs."

Li, a finalist last year, needed 96 minutes to get by Cibulkova, who came into the tournament on a roll with a recent title victory over Radwanska in Stanford, Calif.

Li broke to make it 6-5 in the first set, taking the game with a cross-court winner, but couldn't hold and needed a tiebreaker to win the set. She cruised through the second set en route to her first semifinal berth since losing at Stuttgart in April.

"I mean, after (the) first I was thinking about, `OK, one set in the pocket.' So, feeling more confident of course," Li said.

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