Serena survives scare to set Andreescu title clash

Florence Fletcher
August 12, 2019

Serena Williams progressed to the semifinals of the Rogers Cup on Friday by defeating Naomi Osaka 6-3 6-4, the first time the pair had met since the infamous US Open final in September of past year.

That set the stage for Williams, a 37-year-old American who will try for a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title at the upcoming US Open, to again face Osaka after the controversial finish to their Grand Slam showdown last year in NY.

Williams has 23 Grand Slams.

Although Osaka won't depart Toronto with a trophy, her run to the quarters - along with a second-round departure for top-ranked Ashleigh Barty and a quarter-final exit for world number three Karolina Pliskova - will see the Japanese star regain the world number one ranking next week.

Asked about Osaka dubbing her "Tennis Mum" in her on-court interview, Williams said: "I would say more like 'tennis grandmum.' It was very kind of her to say mom". I just wanted to come out and try and win a set this time because she's beaten me twice.

Afterwards, Osaka admitted that Williams was the better player on the night. "Just hopefully just being able to stay in the rhythm and playing this week and next week would be good". "And I'm just overall a little bit better". I watch her a lot.

Victory in Canada sees Williams claim her first win against Osaka, who still leads their personal rivalry 2-1. "I know that sounds kind of weird, but, you know, if there's anyone in the world that I would want to lose to - of course, I would never want to lose - but I don't mind losing to her because I learned a lot". "So this is, like, such a big learning experience for me".

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Osaka said she played too defensively - something she said was hard to avoid when Williams was hitting 31 winners.

"I'm not really mad at this", Osaka said.

"I honestly don't really think there was ups and downs", Osaka said. "It's always my dream to play against her".

One comfort for Osaka is that she will return to the top of the world rankings next week.

In the semi-finals, Williams will face Czech qualifier Marie Bouzkova, who advanced when Wimbledon champion Simona Halep retired with Achilles tendon trouble after dropping their first set 6-4.

Pliskova eliminated Estonia's Anett Kontaveit 6-3, 7-5 to set up a last-eight clash with rising Canadian star Bianca Andreescu, who outlasted fifth-seeded Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens 6-1, 6-7 (7/9), 6-4.

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