Serena battles past Stosur in Cincinnati

Wed Aug 13, 2014 10:01pm EDT
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(Reuters) - World number one Serena Williams won a tense battle of U.S. Open champions by beating Australia's Samantha Stosur 7-6(7) 7-6(7) on Wednesday to reach the third round of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati.

After last week's loss to sister Venus in the Montreal semi-finals, Williams faced another familiar foe in Stosur, who had beaten her in straight sets in the 2011 U.S. Open final.

Williams has won all four meetings against the Australian since but the 17-times grand slam winner was made to work much harder on the Cincinnati hard courts than she did in Montreal last week where she pounded Stosur 6-0 6-2.

In a tight contest that did not feature a single break by either player, Williams needed nearly two hours to advance to the last 16.

"She was up in both of the (tie)breakers, I think it was just a great match, to be honest," said Williams, who has won 61 career titles but has never lifted the Cincinnati trophy.

"She served unbelievable, and I was like, I can't lose serve because she's just serving great.

"It was really intense."

Fourth seeded Pole Agnieszka Radwanska, fresh from her Rogers Cup win in Montreal on Sunday, cruised to a 6-2 6-2 win over Japan's Kurumi Nara, while German sixth seed Angelique Kerber beat Russia's Ekaterina Makarova 6-4 6-1.

Ukrainian teenager Elina Svitolina provided the biggest upset of the day by stunning Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 6-2 7-6 (2).   Continued...

Aug 13, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Serena Williams reacts during the match against Samantha Stosur on day three of the Western and Southern Open tennis tournament at Linder Family Tennis Center. Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports