Serena Williams overcame a set deficit to deny Ana Ivanovic in a thriller last night in the Stanford quarterfinals. The World No. 1 fell behind early losing the first set. Then lost a 3-1 break lead in the third to go down 4-3 before rallying one last time to put away Ivanovic 2-6, 6-3, 7-5 in one of the best matches of the year.
“She’s not easy to play. She always gives 100 percent,” Serena said to the AP. “I just kept fighting, stayed calm and focused on what I wanted to do.
“I think I can play loads better and that’s good that I believe that,” she added. “I thought we both played very well.”
Hope however for a Serena-Venus semifinal were dashed earlier in the day when Andrea Petkovic outlasted the elder Williams 6-1, 3-6, 7-5.
“She played really well, and I wasn’t as on today as in previous days,” Venus said. “But you’re going to have days like that and have to work through them. I came close, but she was just too good. She’s been having a great year and she managed to play those last few games just a little bit better.”
The German Petkovic will now try to beat both sisters on consecutive days. And she’s never beaten Serena in three previous tries.
“Both times we’ve played this year she played really amazing, and she served really well both times too – I consider my return one of my best shots, and did I even break her?” Petkovic said of facing Serena. “That’s one of the things that keeps her game together, I think. Whenever I see her serving well, she plays well from every other shot, because she knows she has the security that she’s not going to get broken.
“Tomorrow I’ll have to try and be aggressive, and if I get a chance, step in and take it.”
In the other semi, Angelique Kerber meets Varvara Lepchenko.
In Washington, Milos Raonic continued his top form ousting upset-minded Steve Johnson 7-6, 6-2. The American Johnson had just stunned giants John Isner and Ivo Karlovic on back-to-back days, but was unable to continue the magic against the big-serving Canadian.
“I felt like I played well consistently throughout the match,” said Raonic who his 16 aces. “When I got the lead over my opponent, I kept up the high intensity in my game.”
Raonic now faces American Donald Young who defeated Kevin Anderson in three for one of his best career wins.
“This win means a lot for me. I’m happy to be back at this stage, stringing together wins,” said Young. “Hopefully I can keep that going.”
In the second semi, Richard Gasquet, a winner over a hobbled Kei Nishikori, awaits the completion of the Vasek Pospisil-Santiago Giraldo match which was suspended at a set apiece when the rains came last night.
In the women’s semis it’s Svetlana Kuznetsova against Ekatarina Makarova and Karumi Nara vs. Marina Erakovic.
And the Kitzbuhel champion has been crowned. In a rare all-90s final, blossoming Belgian David Goffin won first his first career title beating 20-year-old Dominic Thiem 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 in the final clay event of the summer.
“It’s a great day for me, to win an ATP [World Tour] 250,” Goffin said. “It’s just an amazing feeling right now. I don’t believe it. Maybe in a few days I’ll realise what happened today.
“You work so much in the fitness room and on the court for a moment like today. You play so many practices and so many matches to have this emotion, so when you win the match point you can’t control it.”
The 23-year-old Goffin has now won his last 20 matches, a span that includes three straight clay Challenger titles (30 straight sets) and now Kitzbuhel since his lost to Andy Murray at Wimbledon (he’s won 40 of his last 42 sets). He also becomes the fifth player born in the 90s to win an ATP title (Dimitrov, Raonic, Delbonis, Tomic).
WASHINGTON SATURDAY SCHEDULE
STADIUM COURT start 11:45 am
ATP – [WC] S Johnson (USA) / S Querrey (USA) vs S Groth (AUS) / L Paes (IND)
Not Before 1:00 pm
 V Pospisil (CAN) vs  S Giraldo (COL) 67(4) 63 00 – to finish
Not Before 3:00 pm
ATP – D Young (USA) vs  M Raonic (CAN)
ATP –  V Pospisil (CAN) or  S Giraldo (COL) vs  R Gasquet (FRA)
Not Before 9:15 pm
WTA –  S Kuznetsova (RUS) vs  E Makarova (RUS)
GRANDSTAND 1 start 1:00 pm
WTA – K Nara (JPN) vs M Erakovic (NZL)
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