Can anybody beat Serena?……Azarenka will try today.


Serena Williams remained on course for a second title in the early weeks of the North American hardcourt season after battling through to the semi-finals of the Rogers Cup in Toronto with victory over Lucia Safarova. Having triumphed in Stanford a fortnight ago, the 13-time grand slam winner is two wins away from another trophy, in what is just her fourth tournament of 2011. After having a year of her career wiped out by injury and health problems between her 2010 Wimbledon triumph and this year’s short grass-court season, Williams is hungry to re-establish herself at the top of the women’s game. She is ranked 80th, so is unseeded in Toronto, and against fellow non-seed Safarova she was in early trouble. But Williams, who turns 30 next month, fought back to win 4-6 6-3 6-2 against her left-handed Czech opponent. She gained a break decisively in the fifth game of the deciding set, and then added another before serving out to love for the match, completing her success in four minutes over two hours.

The American’s wins sets up a clash with the highest remaining seed in the draw, Victoria Azarenka of Belarus. Azarenka won 6-1 6-2 against Galina Voskoboeva of Kazakhstan, the player who caused a major surprise by beating Maria Sharapova in the third round. The other semi-final will feature Sam Stosur and Agnieszka Radwanska. Australian 10th seed Stosur ended Italian Roberta Vinci’s impressive run, which included victories over world number one Caroline Wozniacki and Ana Ivanovic, with a 6-4 6-1 triumph. Radwanska, seeded 13th, knocked out 11th-seeded German Andrea Petkovic 6-4 6-3.




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