By Erik Gudris | Saturday, August 16, 2014
Top seed Serena Williams didn't play her best but good enough to beat Caroline Wozniacki in three sets and reach the Cincinnati final.
Photo Credit: AP
Serena Williams didn't play her best tennis. But it was good enough to reach the Western & Southern Open final in Cincinnati after yet another three set win over Caroline Wozniacki.
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Saturday's semifinal between the two friends was the second meeting between them in the last two weeks. Earlier in Montreal, Williams won that encounter in three sets and it wasn't a surprise today's meeting went the distance.
That was largely due to Williams coming out in the first set not looking sharp at all. Wozniacki, with her trademark defense, wore down an already weary looking Williams who committed 16 unforced errors. Wozniacki, with help from another backhand error from Williams, went on to take the set 6-2.
Williams eventually started playing with more power and purpose midway through the second set. After earning an early break, Willliams fired down two aces en route to taking a 3-1 lead. That lead increased to 4-1 after Wozniacki netted a shot down break point again.
A quick service hold to love for Williams secured her the set 6-2 and forced a decider. Who would win the third set wasn't clear even after Williams started trying to end points quicker with winners.
As Williams climbed ahead 1-0, Wozniacki countered again with more defense as she tried to extend their rallies. Neither player held serve until Williams, firing down three aces in the sixth game did so for 4-2. Breaking Wozniacki again for 5-2, Williams looked ready to end the match in a hurry.
Williams, again suffering a dip in form, would lose eight out of the next nine points through committing error after error. Wozniacki, now just behind one break at 5-4, was hoping just to keep the ball in play long enough for Williams to misfire again.
Serving for the match again, Williams found one last burst of energy. At 15-all, she delivered a big serve to get her to 30-15. Then she struck a drive volley winner giving her two match points. Wozniacki sent one final shot over the baseline allowing Williams a chance to celebrate, in somewhat low key terms, the 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 win.
Willliams, speaking later to ESPN's Cliff Drysdale, admitted her heavy schedule during the last three weeks caught up with her during the match.
"I was feeling really tired today and in the second (set) I said, 'Just hit big serves.' You know if you lost at least you tried. I gave everything I had today."
Williams now enters Sunday's final, against either Ana Ivanovic or Maria Sharapova, again seeking her first ever Cincinnati title ever. When asked about both players, Williams said it will be tough no matter who she plays.
"If I play Maria she's been playing really good this year, obviously winning the French Open. Ana and I have gone I think three sets every time we've played. But regardless, I'm just happy to still be here, I can't believe it, I'll do the best I can and then we'll go on to New York."
Williams' semifinal win also confirmed her as the winner of the U.S. Open Series points race giving her the opportunity to win $4 million in prize money should she repeat as US Open champion.
Williams now owns a 8-1 record against Wozniacki, including victories in their last five meetings.
With her quarterfinal victory over Jelena Jankovic, Williams improved her run of consecutive wins against the WTA’s top ten to 17 matches.
Earlier in the week, Wozniacki defeated two top ten players in a row (Kerber, Wozniaci) for the first time since 2010.