Aug 152014

Carolina: World number one Serena Williams stormed into the semi-finals with a 58-minute thrashing of Jelena Jankovic but men`s third seed Stan Wawrinka was stunned by Frenchman Julien Benneteau at the Western & Southern Open on Friday.

Williams, bidding for her first title at the Cincinnati, Ohio hardcourt tournament, romped to a 6-1 6-3 victory over her Serbian opponent.

The unseeded Benneteau, meanwhile, overcame Swiss world number four Wawrinka 1-6 6-1 6-2 to reach his first Masters semi-final.

Williams needed just 25 minutes to claim the first set against Jankovic. She fell behind 2-1 in the second with an early break, but won five of the next six games, closing out the match with back-to-back aces.

“She`s beaten me several times, so I knew today I just had to be focused and do the best I could,” Williams told reporters after claiming her 10th win in 14 matches against Jankovic.

“It didn`t seem fast,” Williams said. “I was just trying my best. And she played some great points. I was just trying to not make many errors, stay focused and do the best that I could.”

The top seed wound up with as many winners as unforced errors at 22-22 while the eighth-eeded Jankovic finished made five winners and 24 unforced errors.

Williams is bidding for a first title in six attempts at Cincinnati. The five previous failures are her second-most attempts at a WTA tournament without winning it. She has played the Sydney event six times without lifting the trophy.

Benneteau belted nine aces and broke serve four times in his 80-minute win as he earned his second victory over a top-10 opponent this year and became the first Frenchman in 14 years to advance to the Cincinnati semis.

Once world-ranked number 26, Benneteau lost the first set in 27 minutes. But he found a new head of steam and broke for a 2-0 lead in the second before claiming 12 of 15 games behind an impressive display of defence, winning 25 of 37 points and hitting 19 winners.

“It`s my best result in a Masters 1000,” Benneteau told reporters. “The Masters 1000 are very, very difficult tournaments . . . . It`s top 45 players in the world on every tournament at this level. You don`t have a lot of opportunities to make a very big result.”

He was joined in the semi-finals at the U.S. Open warm-up by Canadian fifth-seed Milos Raonic, who breezed to a 6-1 6-0 triumph over 15th seed Fabio Fognini of Italy in 57 minutes.


First Published: Saturday, August 16, 2014, 03:19

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