- Cincinnati Masters
Williams tops Wozniacki while Ivanovic outlasts Sharapova
Serena Williams did enough to earn a hard-fought 2-6 6-2 6-4 victory again Caroline Wozniacki on Saturday and reach the final of the Cincinnati Masters.
Williams bounced back from losing her first set of the tournament and committing 41 unforced errors, 20 more than Wozniacki, to beat the Dane for the eighth time in nine career matches.
The American had to shake off a tight lower back before turning her game around, she said.
"It was definitely feeling super tight in the match," Williams said. "That's when I really relaxed, to be honest. By then I was able just to go for more shots and come to the net more and just kind of just not have anything to lose."
She also tried to shorten points with booming serves, leading to getting just 58 percent of her serves in play.
- In the men's draw, Roger Federer beat Milos Raonic for the second time in a semi-final this year to move to within one match of of a sixth Cincinnati title. Standing in his way is David Ferrer.
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"I just had to go for rockets because I wasn't feeling great," she said. "I thought, 'Listen, I'm going to go out and just try to hit aces and see what happens.' It started working for me. I was like, 'OK.' Hopefully my arm will be OK tomorrow. We'll see."
Williams and Wozniacki both struggled with their serves, leading to a combined 15 service breaks, including the first five games of the third set. Wozniacki was broken in eight of nine service games in one stretch and connected on just 54 percent of her first serves.
"I didn't get many first serves in," Wozniacki said. "When I did, they weren't placed very well. It's frustrating, because you lose a set 6-4 in the third and you only hold serve once.
"I actually broke Serena three times in the set. I don't think that happens very often to her either, so, you know, you feel like you're there and my all game was there.
"I was fighting. I was running. I was trying to take the ball early. I was returning well. Then my serve comes around and I can't seem to hold serve. It's frustrating thing when you're out there on the court."
Williams has never won the championship in five previous appearances. She lost a third-set tiebreaker to Victoria Azarenka last year.
Williams will face ninth-seed Ana Ivanovic in the final. Ivanovic beat fifth-seeded Maria Sharapova 6-2 5-7 7-5 in a night match.
Ivanovic had to fight off nausea that prompted a visit from the trainer in the second game of the third set. That left her even more proud of her second straight win over Sharapova and fourth in 12 meetings.
"It's a very thrilling moment because it was very competitive towards the end, especially in the third set," Ivanovic said. "Even in the second, lots of turn around, lots of breaks in the third set. Just so, so thrilled and happy to stay composed and fight until the last moment.
"When it mattered the most, I played some really good tennis."