Monday, 16 December, 2019

Japanese star Osaka set to return to WTA world No.1

Serena rolls past Osaka in Toronto Halep retires Japanese star Osaka set to return to WTA world No.1
Cary Erickson | 12 August, 2019, 01:56

A lot of hype went into their quarterfinal showdown as it was their first meeting since the 2018 US Open final.

Serena Williams rallied to avoid a stunning upset and secure a 1-6 6-3 6-3 semi-final win over Czech qualifier Marie Bouzkova at the Rogers Cup on Saturday, setting up a title showdown with local teenager Bianca Andreescu. I just wanted to come out and try and win a set this time because she's beaten me twice.

The victor of 23 Grand Slam titles hit 12 aces, the last of them on match points, and did not concede a break point to qualify for the semi-finals of this Canadian Premier Category event (just in below the Grand Slams).

"I'm not really mad at this", Osaka said.

The 37-year-old is looking to shore up her hardcourt game for the August 26-to-Sept. I know that sounds kind of weird, but if there's anyone in the world that I would want to lose to - of course I would never want to lose - I don't mind losing to her, because I learned a lot.

The 23-time Grand Slam champion fired 12 aces and didn't face a break. Williams was penalized for illegal coaching, breaking her racket and verbal abuse, and later suggested that the umpire's actions were motivated by sexism.

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Reigning US and Australian Open champion Osaka broke at love in the final game to defeat Polish teen Iga Swiatek 7-6 (7/4), 6-4 after one hour and 51 minutes.

"I knew her game a little bit more, so that's a little easier, and, you know, I'm just overall a little bit better. This debacle ruined something that should have been awesome and historic". "It's always my dream to play against her". "All I can say is that I'm just so happy to be back on court right now. So this is such a big learning experience for me". "I know that can't be helped when I'm playing against her". "So whenever I get the opportunity to play her, like, it's something that I feel is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity".

Czech third seed Karolina Pliskova kept the pressure on Osaka in the battle to take the world number one ranking by also reaching the quarter-finals.

Up next in her bid for a first title since returning to competition in 2018 after the birth of her daughter will be Canadian 19-year-old Andreescu, who beat American Sofia Kenin 6-4 7-6 (5) in the other semi-final.

Williams will face the victor of the quarter-final match between Simona Halep and Marie Bouzková, in the last four.