Play to determine the four semi finalists at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati got underway on Friday. In the first match, top seed Serena Williams faced off against 25th ranked Simona Halep. Serena led the head to head stat 2-0, one win in 2011 before the Romainan started climbing up the rankings and a win in Rome this year. Halep had already taken out both Bartoli and Stosur, so was also on good form. Once again in devastating form, Serena won the first set to love in just seventeen minutes – and she committed only three unforced errors to twelve winners – against her hapless opponent’s six points in total. Halep managed to hold her first serve in the second and continued to win games in a much tighter set, taking Serena to 4-4. Serving to stay in the match at 4-5 and match point down, Halep double faulted to let the American take the set 6-4. She will take on defending champion Na Li, who got a walkover into the semis when Aga Radwanska pulled out of the tournament.
Another match that saw a 6-0 first set was that between 14th seed Jelena Jankovic and 12th seed Roberta Vinci. After racing through the first set to love, Jankovic had to work much harder in the second set after the Italian broke to lead 4-2, but she went on another streak, taking four games in a row to seal the set at 6-4. She will play Vika Azarenka in the semis.
Victoria Azarenka, the 2nd seed, got the better of 10th seed Caroline Wozniacki in the night match. The first set was relatively straightforward for Azarenka as she took it 6-3, but the Dane made a match of things in the second set. Mainly due to Azarenka’s double faults and inability to convert her break points, the Dane took the set to a breaker which Azarenka won 7-5 in a match that lasted eight minutes short of two hours.