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Serena scripts ‘revenge’ over Osaka, sweeps into Rogers Cup semis

Karthik Swaminathan

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Naomi Osaka (L) shakes hands with Serena Williams after their Rogers Cup quarterfinal at the Aviva Centre in Toronto, Ontario. Photos: Tennis Canada

Teenager Bianca Andreescu overcomes groin strain to upset “Ace Queen” Pliskova, while the 23-time Grand Slam champion records her first win over 21-year-old Osaka

Toronto: Bianca Andreescu punched her ticket to the final four with a three-set victory over World No. 3 Karolina Pliskova 6-0, 2-6, 6-4. The Mississauga-native becomes the first woman from Canada to reach the Rogers Cup semifinals since Faye Urban in 1969.

It was for the 20th time in her career that Pliskova was at the receiving end of a bagel set, the last one coming in Wimbledon 2016 against Yanina Wickmayer although she would go on to win that match.

Andreescu will next face 20-year-old Sofia Kenin, another young rising star. The pair have squared off thrice before, with the Canadian leading their rivalry 2–1.

Andreescu will undoubtedly be the favourite when she takes the stage at Aviva Centre on Saturday afternoon. With her latest upset win over Pliskova, the Canadian is now a perfect 6-0 against the top-10 over her career, all of which have taken place in 2019. Her match record this season is also stupendous, she’s won 25 of her 29 matches over the course of the year.

“If I was that little girl, I wouldn’t have believed her that—if I said that I would be in a semifinals here today. So this really means a lot to me,” said Bianca on what it means to her to reach the final four at her home tournament.

Serena Excels in US Open Final Rematch
In their first meeting since last year’s US Open final, Serena Williams captured her first career victory against Naomi Osaka. She defeated the World No. 2 in straight sets 6-3, 6-4 and, in so doing, took possession of another record in her glorious career: most wins at the Rogers Cup in the Open Era. Williams now has 33 wins, beating the previous record of 32 held by Arantxa Sanchez Vicario.

“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. You know, last year was—you know, it was a miraculous year for me, to be honest,” Serena said later.

Williams has now reached the semifinals at Rogers Cup in eight of nine appearances at this event. The only time she was unsuccessful was back in 2005, when she was forced to withdraw from her third-round match against Flavia Pennetta with a knee injury. The 23-time Grand Slam champion will face Marie Bouzkova. The Czech qualifier advanced to the last four following an early retirement from World No. 4 Simona Halep due left ankle injury.

Osaka, meanwhile, will regain the World No. 1 ranking.

“Well, I think I served well. Just like trying to be solid, I guess. For me, honestly, anything is positive compared to Wimbledon. And I just try to grow on every match. And even though I lost today, I learned a lot, which is something that I’m really grateful for and something that I really looked towards when I play matches anyway,” said Osaka looking at the brighter side.

Bianca Andreescu became the first Canadian woman to reach the Rogers Cup semifinal in 50 years

Women’s Singles – Quarterfinals
[8] S. Williams (USA) d [2] N. Osaka (JPN) 63 64
B. Andreescu (CAN) d [3] K. Pliskova (CZE) 60 26 64
[Q] M. Bouzkova (CZE) d [4] S. Halep (ROU) 64 00 Retired
S. Kenin (USA) d [6] E. Svitolina (UKR) 76(2) 64

Karthik Swaminathan is a burgeoning sports analyst, his views on top-tier tennis and cricket events, including Grand Slams and the World Cup, have been featured on live television. Karthik has also been published on leading magazines and web portals such as Wisden, Golf Digest and Sports Illustrated. His other interests include astronomy, darts and anything tech.