Serena powers past Osaka, Halep's title defence ends

Karolina Pliskova

Karolina Pliskova

Serena Williams produced a brilliant display to claim a straight-sets win over Naomi Osaka in the Rogers Cup quarter final on Friday.

Williams' meltdown at Flushing Meadows during the decider in 2018 overshadowed what was Osaka's first Grand Slam success.

They had left the controversy, when Osaka, 20 years old at the time, had raised his first Grand Slam title while enjoying a loss of nerves from his opponent, sanctioned by a point and then a game of penalty by the referee.

Williams next faces either fourth-seeded Simona Halep ― who beat her in the Wimbledon final in July ― or Czech qualifier Marie Bouzkova.

That result meant Osaka, who later lost to Williams, will replace Ashleigh Barty atop the world rankings.

They found themselves just a few weeks away from the New York Grand Slam, in serenity and with a smiles handshake at the end of a meeting solidly mastered by the American 10th World, 6-3, 6- 4 in 1 hr 16 min.

"We haven t played since NY, which was a really good match for her", said Williams, adding that she feels her own game is coming on as she d hoped in the buildup to this year s US Open at Flushing Meadows.

Osaka said Williams played "amazing, which is what she does", and the victor agreed her level had improved from the pair of 2018 defeats. She won in Indian Wells in March for her first WTA Tour title.

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"I just wanted to come out and try to win a set this time - she's beaten me twice".

"In the third set I told myself, 'Go big or go home,"' Andreescu said.

"And, actually, this is how I thought the first time I played her in Miami was going to go", Naomi Osaka said. And, yeah, so I know her game. She is set to take part in the US Open match.

"I've always wanted to play Serena", said Bouzkova, a 21-year-old ranked 91st in the world. "And she just played fantastic, which that's what she does". "It s definitely not where I want to be, but I m getting there".

In the afternoon, Bianca Andreescu became the first Canadian Rogers Cup semifinalist since 1979, overcoming a groin injury to beat third-seeded Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic 6-0, 2-6, 6-4.

Up next for Andreescu will be unseeded American Sofia Kenin, who extended her impressive Toronto run with a 7-6 (2) 6-4 win over Ukrainian former champion Elina Svitolina.

In Montreal, top-seeded Rafael Nadal rallied to reach the Rogers Cup semifinals, beating No. 7 Fabio Fognini of Italy 2-6, 6-1, 6-2.

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