Williams bests Osaka as injured Halep retires in Rogers Cup quarters
LONDON - Serena Williams overwhelmed Naomi Osaka in a
highly-anticipated rematch of their US Open encounter with a 6-3, 6-4
victory on Friday to enter the semi-finals of the Rogers Cup in
The 23-time grand slam winner triumphed in 76 minutes without facing
a single break point, and will next face Czech qualifier Marie
Bouzkova after Simona Halep was forced to withdraw with a left
lower-leg injury after losing the first set 6-4.
Despite defeat, Japan's Osaka will reclaim the world number one spot
on Monday after world number three Karolina Pliskova was defeated
6-0. 2-6, 6-4 by Canadian Bianca Andreescu, following Ashleigh
Barty's early exit to American Sofia Kenin.
The 19-year-old Andreescu will face Kenin in Saturday's final four
after she conquered Ukraine's sixth seed Elina Svitolina 7-6 (7-2),
Meanwhile in men's Montreal event, top seed Rafael Nadal rallied from
a set down to beat Italy's Fabio Fognini 2-6, 6-1, 6-2.
"It was an up-and-down match, but a positive match for me," Nadal
said. "I have been playing better and better."
Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem were eliminated by Russians Karen
Khachanov and Daniil Medvedev in their respective quarter-final
Williams and Osaka had not met since their dramatic US Open final
last year, where Williams was involved in a row with umpire Carlos
Ramos after he docked a point for on-court coaching and then lost a
full game as she showcased unsporting behaviour in her protests at
The 36-year-old went on to lose the championship to Osaka, who
claimed her first grand slam title with a 6-2, 6-4 win, but in
Toronto, Williams dominated.
Williams broke Osaka's serve in the eighth game of the first set to
take the lead and limited Osaka to just 20 points as she claimed her
first victory over the 21-year-old with her 12th ace.
"I knew her game a little bit more, so that's a little easier. I'm
just overall a little bit better," Williams said in an on-court
"I know her game. I watch her a lot. I know what I needed to do to
hopefully try to get a win today, and it helped a little bit."
Defeat was bittersweet for Osaka because following the dismissals of
Barty and third seed Pliskova, she ascends to the top of the women's
"I feel like that's a position that I think requires a lot of work,"
"I just have to keep working hard and putting in effort, and I have
to not think too much about winning or losing."
Four-time champion Nadal was broken twice by Fognini to fall behind
after the first set but the Italian world number 11 could not
Fognini double-faulted in the second set to trail 2-0 as Nadal surged
through to level the match.
The world number two Spaniard then won 12 of the last 15 games to win
in under two hours and enter the last four in the Rogers Cup for the
first time since 2013.
He will play either compatriot Roberto Bautista-Agut or Frenchman
Gael Monfils, who will resume their quarter-final on Saturday after
it was suspended by rain.
Germany's Zverev, seeded third, made eight double-faults in an
error-strewn display as he was beaten 6-3, 6-3 by Russia's Karen
The second-seeded Austrian Dominic Thiem was stunned in 56 minutes
with a 6-3, 6-1 defeat at the hands of Khachanov's compatriot Daniil
Medvedev and Khachanov will create Masters tournament history by
competing in the first all-Russian semi-final at that level.
The 22-year-old Zverev was erratic in his performance and after
double-faulting for a fifth time, he snapped his racket before
dropping the first set with a second break.
"Sascha (Zverev) didn't play his best today," said Khachanov.
"I know what he's capable of but on the other side, I would like to
take credit for myself."
Another double-fault from Zverev handed Khachanov a match-winning
break for 4-2 in the second set.
The world number eight Khachanov faced two break points serving for
the match at 5-3, but held on to prevail in 74 minutes.