Unseeded Swiss Belinda Bencic continued her breakthrough tournament on Friday at the Rogers Cup in Toronto, upsetting No. 5 seed Ana Ivanovic 6-4, 6-2 to set up a semifinal meeting with world No. 1 Serena Williams.
At 4-4 in the first set the Swiss ripped off six straight games to take control of the match.
“I’m in the semifinals — I cannot believe it,” said Bencic, who earlier in the week toppled Genie Bouchard, former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki and Sabine Lisicki. “I’m really looking forward to tomorrow.”
Williams advanced into the semis by beating Roberta Vinci, who seemingly couldn’t hit a winner if she had a ball inside the service box, but nonetheless made the American work for a 6-4, 6-3 win.
“It’s been a long time since the last time I played her, but I think this is the best she’s played against me,” said Williams who delivered 12 aces. “Her slice, I think I handled it really well tonight. More than anything, though, I think her serve was what kept her going really strong during the match tonight.”
The other semifinal will see No. 2 Simona Halep, who won a see-saw match over No. 6 Agnieszka Radwanska 0-6, 6-3, 6-1, against the scrambling No. 15 Sara Errani who stopped qualifier Lesia Tsurenko 6-4, 6-4.
“At the beginning I couldn’t move my legs,” Halep said. “I just felt very tired. And she was playing amazing — I couldn’t do anything. But I just kept focusing on what I had to do on the court — I knew I had to change my tactics, so I just kept the ball inside the court more and made more rallies out there.”
On the men’s side in Montreal world No. 1 Novak Djokovic received a scare from the unpredictable Ernests Gulbis, saving two match points in a 5-7, 7-6(7), 6-1 win.
“You have to give credit to him for playing an excellent match,” said Djokovic who has now won 29 straights Masters-level tournament matches. “He was always making me play an extra shot, and putting a lot of pressure on my second serve. I had a lot of chances and closed it out in the end, but he had a couple of match points and it would’ve been deserved if he had won this match tonight.”
Djokovic will next face unseeded Frenchman Jeremy Chardy who beat No. 16 John Isner 6-7(9), 7-6(13), 7-6(4). Chardy saved an incredible seven match points.
“It was a crazy match,” said Chardy. “We both served really well and we both had our chances, so I am happy that I won it in the end. On those match points, I was only thinking about where I wanted to hit my serve or how to play the point. Under pressure it’s easy to get nervous and miss if you start thinking about the match point or the break point.”
The other semifinal will be Kei Nishikori, who beat the spiraling Rafael Nadal for the first time in his career in eight meetings 6-2, 6-4, against either Andy Murray or Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who played late into the morning.
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