Serena Through to Second Consecutive Cincy Final
In a late night Center Court battle, Ana Ivanovic battled past Maria Sharapova 6-2, 5-7, 7-5 for the remaining spot in the Western & Southern Open Women’s Final.
No.9 seed Ivanovic came out firing, breaking the former champion two times while putting 81% of her returns in play in the first set to clinch it 6-2.
After falling behind 2-5 in the second set, Sharapova put together a string of three holds and two breaks to push Ivanovic in to a deciding set.
Ivanovic, who fired off 27 winners in the two hour and 46 minute match, fought off two match points in the third set and broke Sharapova in the final game to win the match.
The former World No.1 is through to her first final in Cincinnati to face 2013 finalist Serena Williams, who leads their head-to-head 6-1.
When asked about her opponent in the final, Ivanovic said, “She's No. 1 player in the world and she's a great champion, so I think it's going to be a good match.”
Top seed Williams rallied to defeat Caroline Wozniacki 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 in the first women’s semifinal Saturday.
No.12 seed Wozniacki got off to a quick start, breaking Williams three times to clinch the first set in just 29 minutes. Williams, who held serve only one time in the opening set, recorded twice as many unforced errors as winners.
It was the World No.1 who came out firing in the second set, opening up with a break. Williams broke Wozniacki two more times and served out the set at love to force the match to a third.
The two women exchanged seven breaks in the final set, but Williams’ two holds of serve gave her the edge and the win in the hour and 43 minute match. In the end, Wozniacki recorded only 9 winners compared to Williams’ 35, but had nearly half the unforced errors.
When asked about her thoughts on her level of play today Wozniacki said, “I ran a lot of balls down and made her play that extra ball and was aggressive when I could and tried to move forward and mix the pace up a bit. I felt comfortable out there…It's a positive sign going into the US Open.”
With this win, the 2013 finalist improves her 2014 record to 37-6 and moved to 17-1 against Top 20 opponents this season.
Williams is still looking for her first title in Cincinnati, after making six appearances. The only other event she has played six times without claiming a title is Sydney.
Williams will meet for the fourth time this year. The Serb is the only Top 20 player to defeat her this season. “I think all our matches have gone three sets this year,” said Williams. “Haven't been any easy matches. So that would really be an intense match for me.”