TORONTO (Reuters) - World number two Serena Williams brushed aside qualifier Lucie Safarova 6-3 6-2 on Friday to reach the semi-finals of the Toronto Cup and set up a mouth-watering clash with Elena Dementieva.
Tennis fans can expect a treat if Williams and Dementieva come close to a repeat of their memorable Wimbledon semi-final in July won 8-6 in the third set by the American before she went on to beat sister Venus in the final.
Williams needed just 57 minutes on a blustery center court to dismiss 46th-ranked Czech Safarova.
The 11-times grand slam winner has displayed impressive form on the Canadian hardcourts, surrendering no more than five games in any match.
Dementieva had to work much harder for a semi-final spot, the fourth-seeded Russian scraping a 6-7 6-1 6-3 win over feisty Australian Samantha Stosur.
”I think it will be a great match, our last match was really insane,“ Williams told reporters. ”I love playing her, it will be good.
“I just feel like I’ve kind of played my way into a rhythm. I felt really good out there today, I felt like I was really consistent and moving well.”
Williams needed a few games to find her range but once she did Safarova had no answers as the 2001 champion swept seven games to take the opening set and a 4-0 lead in the second.
By contrast Dementieva needed two hours 15 minutes to see off a determined Stosur and clinch a place in her fourth consecutive semi-final.
Stosur, a doubles specialist with 22 titles, is now making her mark in singles and represented a tricky test for the Olympic gold medalist.
The 25-year-old Australian has had a strong hardcourt campaign, reaching the semi-finals in Stanford, California and the final of her last event, the LA Championships.
By reaching the quarter-finals in Toronto, Stosur will move up to number 15 in the rankings, the first Australian to break into the top 15 since Alicia Molik in October 2005.
Both players struggled with their serves in the gusting winds, the pair breaking six times before Stosur took the first set tiebreak 7-3.
There were only two breaks in the second set but both went to the 27-year-old Russian, who raced into a 5-0 lead.
The contest tightened up in the third until Dementieva broke to go 4-3 up, snatching the last four games to seal victory.
“I am looking forward to tomorrow. I feel it (Wimbledon) was one of the best matches of my career, even if I lost it,” said Dementieva.
“I just feel like tomorrow is going to be a completely different challenge because we are playing on a hardcourt.”
Editing by Tony Jimenez