Toronto:Serena Williams breezed through to the semi-finals of the Rogers Cup on Friday with a straight-sets victory over Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic.
Williams, seeded second, was rarely challenged in a 6-3, 6-2 win over the 46th-ranked qualifier. Williams will next face No. 4 Elena Dementieva of Russia, who advanced with a tough three-set win over Australia's Samantha Stosur.
"It'll be a great match," said Williams. "She is a great player, and our last match was really insane. I love playing her."
The two met at Wimbledon and Williams won that three-set marathon 6-7 (4), 7-5, 8-6.
Russia's Alisa Kleybanova also reached the semis with a gruelling 6-7 (6), 7-6 (7), 6-2 win over No. 5 Jelena Jankovic. Kleybanova, who squandered the first 10 set points she had in the 3-hour 16-minute match, will face either No. 14 Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland or Maria Sharapova of Russia, who were to play later.
Williams seized a breakpoint opportunity to take a 5-3 lead. She held serve at love in the next game to wrap up the first set.
Williams broke Safarova's opening two service games of the second set and cruised from there, advancing to her first Tour semifinal since winning Wimbledon.
Earlier, Dementieva overcame an error-filled first set in the 6-7 (3), 6-1, 6-3 victory over Stosur on a breezy afternoon at the Rexall Centre. Dementieva was able to adjust as the match went on, while Stosur struggled to land her forehand.
"On this kind of day you're just trying to be very aggressive with your footwork, trying to get very close to the balls and to get good control on the racket head, and just go for the shots," Dementieva said.
After exchanging breaks with Dementieva six straight games in the first set, Stosur pulled away in the tiebreaker thanks to three consecutive unforced errors. The final one, a simple forehand that Dementieva drove into the net, gave Stosur the set.
Dementieva stormed back to win the first four games in the second set and took it quickly to level the match.
The Russian carried that momentum into the deciding set, taking a 4-3 lead by breaking Stosur at love.
Dementieva followed by holding serve, then took advantage of two Stosur double-faults _ her eighth and ninth of the match _ to close things out.
"I'm sure it's going to be tough to face Serena one more time," said Dementieva, who has two WTA Tour titles this season. "It looks like she's in good shape. She has played very powerful in all her matches this week, so it's going to be a tough challenge."