Serena Williams advances to Rogers Cup semifinals

Getting there American Serena Williams on the way to an emphatic straight-sets victory over Naomi Osaka in the quarter-finals of the WTA tournament in Toronto

Getting there American Serena Williams on the way to an emphatic straight-sets victory over Naomi Osaka in the quarter-finals of the WTA tournament in Toronto

Even as her body faltered, Bianca Andreescu's sheer will power carried her to an historic victory. She is the first Canadian woman to advance to the tournament's semifinals since 1979. "I just let a few opportunities go by".

"In the third set I told myself, 'Go big or go home, '" Andreescu said. "I just went out there and I never gave up because it's not over until it's over".

But Halep marked her first win over a top-five player.

There was a scary moment in the second set when the American ran into the net post while trying to chase down an Osaka drop shot but, despite nursing her right arm, Williams confirmed that no serious damage had been done.

Osaka plays 23-time Grand Slam singles champion Serena Williams on Saturday. "It's nice to get back in the rhythm of things", Andreescu said. "She has really great defense, and I needed to be patient when I closed the points out", Kenin added. The Czech native could reclaim the No. 1 spot this week with a good run at the US$2.83 million WTA Tour Premier 5 event. "I know her game".

As much as it was a thing of beauty for the hometown hope, the opening-set statline was a complete horror show for Pliskova, who committed four double faults, won just five of 11 first-serve points, with just one victor and 10 unforced errors, compared to the Canadian's one double fault, eight of nine first-serve points won, six winners and five winners. With Pliskova's greatest strength neutralized, Andreescu dominated all facets of the game in the first set for a quick 6-0 win.

Pliskova was absolutely annihilated in the opening set, a deer-caught-in-the-headlights with Andreescu's crafty point construction working wonders. I watch her a lot. I felt it this morning, too. "I didn't feel 100 per cent ready for the tournament because I had a long break (after Wimbledon)".

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She came jogging back out with a wrap around her right leg and tape on her left inner thigh. Swiatek upset former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki in three sets Wednesday night.

"Svitolina has good hands, plays really well".

The 19-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., competing in just her third match since March because of a shoulder injury, was running out of gas in the third set.

"It hurt, but it wasn't the end of the world", Williams said.

Holder Simona Halep, the fourth-seeded Romanian who claimed her first Wimbledon title this year, and Czech qualifier Marie Bouzkova cap the day's action in the other quarter-final. Halep will face Czech qualifier Marie Bouzkova, a 6-2, 6-2 victor at night over Latvia's Jalena Ostapenko.

No. 8-seed Serena Williams followed Andreescu on centre court with a decisive 6-3, 6-3 win over Elise Mertens.

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