Li Na, Serena in Rogers Cup semis

Toronto, Aug 10 (IANS) China's Li Na and World No. 1 Serena Williams are a match away from their eighth meeting after both secured the WTA Rogers Cup semifinal berths here on Friday.

All that is left standing between the two players are third seed Agnieszka Radwanska and Sorana Cirstea - an unseeded Romanian player who upset Rogers Cup defending champion Petra Kvitova to reach the semis earlier Friday.

If everything goes well for both players at the semis, it could prove to be a tough final for Li, who's only won once against the American top seed, reports Xinhua.

Serving up seven aces and claiming six service breaks, Williams dispatched Slovakia's Magdalena Rybarikova within one hour 6-1, 6-1.

"I'm definitely feeling pretty good, playing much better than I have in the past month, I would say," said Williams after the match. "So I'm glad I am getting back to the feeling and getting into some rhythm."

Rybarikova didn't stand a chance in the quarterfinals against Williams' formidable groundstrokes, which sent her unseeded opponent scrambling across the court.

But Rybarikova fought valiantly, holding out some longer rallies and scoring some impressive shots.

China's only Grand Slam singles winner Li defeated Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova 7-6 (1), 6-2 to advance into the semi-finals.

Li, who won their three previous clashes, overpowered and outplayed the Slovak player at every turn, taking another win against the world no.20.

The 24-year-old player shocked tennis fans twice earlier in the week when she took out world No. 9 Angelique Kerber in the first round, and No. 10 seed Roberta Vinci in the third. But that wasn't enough to defeat Li -- the runner-up of last year's Rogers Cup -- who played a steady and strong match Friday.

Cibulkova was whipping balls down Li's court with brute force the entire way, but the strong baseline player returned the balls with equal power and eventually won the first set in a tie-break.

"I was feeling a little bit different than yesterday because the opponent hit the ball different, but I was feeling today is even more tired than yesterday," said Li Na, who defeated Serbia's Ana Ivanovic in a close battle by 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 (5) in the third round.

Li got an early lead on Cibulkova early in the second set, and won it with ease. Her semifinals opponent was set after Romania's Sorana Cirstea upset Kvitova 4-6, 7-5, 6-2.

Cirstea said she's looking forward to facing Li.

"I have actually played Li Na quite a few times now," she told reporters. "It's going to be a very, very good match. She's always a very solid player, she's quite aggressive... I want to give my best tomorrow and have a good match no matter what the outcome."

"Just to do the same things I have done till now, you know, just focus on my side of the court," she added.

There was a major upset in the doubles tournament, as Canada's Gabriela Dabrowski and Sharon Fichman, who got into Rogers Cup with a wild card, defeated the top ranked Italian duo Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci 6-7 (4), 6-2, 10-5.


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