World number one Serena Williams fought off a determined Ana Ivanovic 2-6, 6-3, 7-5 to reach the semi-finals of the WTA hardcourt tournament at Stanford.
The top-seeded American booked a last-four showdown with eighth-seeded German Andrea Petkovic, who thwarted a possible all-Williams semi-final with a 6-1, 3-6, 7-5 triumph over Venus Williams.
Top-seeded Serena, playing her first tournament since she departed Wimbledon looking weak and woozy, said the one hour, 57-minute match against Ivanovic confirmed she had regained her fitness in the wake of the virus that hampered her at the All England Club.
“I’m feeling really good,” said Serena. “I had some long rallies and I wasn’t out of breath at all, so I was, like, ‘Yay!’”
She said she was expecting a tough match from Petkovic, who stormed through the first set over Venus Williams, then held on in the face of the American’s determined comeback attempt.
Raonic, Gasquet advance to Washington last four
Wimbledon semi-finalist Milos Raonic and 2013 US Open semi-finalist Richard Gasquet advanced to the last four of the ATP and WTA Washington Open with straight-set triumphs.
Canadian second seed Raonic fired 16 aces and lost only nine service points in defeating American Steve Johnson 7-6 (7/2), 6-2, taking only 79 minutes to book his third semi-final of the season.
“I’m getting better and better,” said Raonic. “I played the right way at the end of the sets. When I got the advantage I kept the intensity.”
“I’ve gotten better at knowing what I need to do. I step up in the tie-breakers and that has worked out well.”
Meanwhile, French sixth seed Gasquet ripped Japanese fourth seed Kei Nishikori 6-1, 6-4 in only 59 minutes to reach the other semi-final.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 3rd, 2014.
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