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Serena Williams Advances To Rogers Cup Final

PTI 14 Aug 2011, 9:05:48 IST

Toronto, Aug 14 : Serena Williams advanced to the final in the Rogers Cup, beating fourth-seeded Victoria Azarenka of Belarus 6-3, 6-3 on Saturday night.

Williams, playing just her fourth tournament since being sidelined for a year by injuries and illness, will face 10th-seeded Samantha Stosur of Australia in the final.

“I feel it's better today than it has been the past couple of rounds, but I feel it's coming along, I feel I can still do a little better but overall I'm almost where I was. Almost,” Williams said. “But I want to exceed that level.”

Williams, a 13-time Grand Slam champion who isn't seeded in Toronto as she continues her comeback, put in her most dominant performance this week, winning in 1 hour, 17 minutes.

The match was hers for the taking when Azarenka double-faulted to drop her serve and give Williams a 4-3 lead in the second set. Williams won on a blistering shot to the back corner that Azarenka couldn't reach.

Williams was injured shortly after claiming her fourth Wimbledon title last year. A few days later, she cut her foot on glass at a restaurant in Germany and underwent two operations, spending 10 weeks in a cast and another 10 weeks in a walking boot. Then she was diagnosed in February with blood clots in her lung, and didn't return to practice until April.

While her philosophical approach to the game might have changed, her biting sarcasm hasn't. The former world No. 1, whose ranking has dropped to 80th, was asked if she feels like a top-10 player simply disguised as one ranked much lower.

“You think?” Williams fired back, prompting chuckles from reporters. “Maybe I'm like a changeling and maybe I am really top-10 and I am disguised. That's a good theory. I'm going to look into that.”

In the other semifinal, Stosur beat Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2, 5-7, 6-2.

Stosur broke Radwanska three times in the first set, but the Pole rallied to take the second when Stosur double-faulted. The Australian broke Radwanska to go up 5-2 in the third, then won the match with an ace.

The loss ended a nine-match winning streak for Radwanska, who claimed her fifth WTA title last week in Carlsbad, California.

The 11th-ranked Stosur will return to the top 10 in the WTA rankings next week.

“I think it's always for any person playing a professional sport like tennis, that benchmark is the top 10, and then you make your top five, and from there, you never know what's possible,” Stosur said. “But I was definitely very excited when I broke the top 10 the first time.” AP