The Associated PressTORONTO (AP) — Serena Williams advanced to the Rogers Cup semifinals Friday night, beating soon-to-be-top-ranked Naomi Osaka of Japan 6-3, 6-4 at breezy York University.
Playing her first event since losing the Wimbledon final, Williams faced Osaka for the first time since losing to her last year in the U.S. Open final.
“I knew her game a little bit more, so that’s a little easier. I’m just overall a little bit better,” Williams said. “I know her game. I watch her a lot. I know what I need to do to hopefully try to get a win today, and it helped a little bit. I go into every match thinking I can do it, but sometimes that doesn’t happen.”
Williams will face Czech qualifier Marie Bouzkova on Saturday. Bouzkova led fourth-seeded Simona Halep of Romania 6-4 when the Wimbledon champion retired because of a left Achilles problem.
The 37-year-old Williams, ranked 10th and seeded eighth, won the event in 2001, 2011 and 2013 — all in Toronto — and has a tournament-record 33 victories in 37 matches. She won the last of her 72 singles titles in the 2017 Australian Open.
Osaka will go from No. 2 to No. 1 on Monday when the new ranking is announced.
“I’m not really mad at this,” Osaka said. “I don’t think it was up and down. I think I played pretty well. And she just played amazing, which that’s what she does ... I just feel like the entire match I was a bit too defensive. I know that can’t be helped when I’m playing against her.”
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 Czech Republic 6-0, 2-6, 6-4.
Pliskova’s loss, following top-ranked Ashleigh Barty’s defeat by American Sofia Kenin in the first round, assured that Osaka would regain the top rank.
Andreescu will next face Kenin, a 7-6 (7-2), 6-4 winner over sixth-seeded Elina Svitolina of Ukraine.
The 19-year-old Andreescu, from nearby Mississauga, is returning from a right shoulder injury that sidelined her since the French Open in May. She won in Indian Wells in March for her first WTA Tour title.
“In the third set I told myself, ‘Go big or go home,’” Andreescu said. “Literally go home. My home is like two minutes from here. I just went out there and I never gave up because it’s not over until it’s over.”
Nadal makes Montreal semis
MONTREAL (AP) — Top-seeded Rafael Nadal rallied to reach the Rogers Cup semifinals, beating No. 7 Fabio Fognini of Italy 2-6, 6-1, 6-2 on Friday night in Montreal.
The winner last year in Toronto for his fourth title in the event, Nadal won his 380th ATP Masters 1000 match, a day after breaking a tie with Roger Federer for the tour record.
“It was an up-and-down match, but a positive match for me,” said Nadal, who lost to Fognini in their last meeting in the Monte Carlo Masters semifinals. “I have been playing better and better.”
In the semifinals, the 33-year-old Spanish star will face No. 10 Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain or No. 16 Gael Monfils of France. That quarterfinal was postponed until Saturday due to inclement weather with Monfils leading 30-0 in the first game of the first set.
In the afternoon, Daniil Medvedev and Karen Khachanov set up an all-Russian semifinal.