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article imagePlaying through pain, Serena Williams reaches Rogers Cup final

By Yukio Strachan     Aug 11, 2013 in Sports
Toronto - World No.1 Serena Williams took a step toward her third Rogers Cup title Saturday night, beating Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska — and a stomach ailment — to book a showdown with giant-killer Sorana Cirstea of Romania in Sunday’s final in Toronto.
The 2001 and 2011 Rogers Cup champion set up a final match against the unseeded Romanian after a 1 hour, 52 minute battle with Radwanska at the Rexall Centre to earn a 6-3, 6-2 victory. Cirstea, the 27th-ranked player in the world, upset fourth-seeded Li Na of China 6-1, 7-6 (5) in the afternoon semifinal.
The 23-year-old Cirstea also ousted the former No. 1 players Jelena Jankovic and Caroline Wozniacki along with the defending Rogers Cup champion sixth-seeded Petra Kvitova this week.
“She plays really tough,” Williams said of Cirstea according to the New York Times. “She hits really hard. She has a good serve. She moves well, so she’s definitely not an easy player to play."
Williams has seven tournament victories this year. The Rogers Cup follows her victory in the Swedish Open on July 21.
The American toughed out a close first set against Radwanska, making Williams work for every point. The 24-year-old Radwanska kept up with Williams's imposing power game and traded breaks with Williams twice in the first set. Radwanska led, 6-5, but not for long. In the tiebreaker, Williams blasted a cross-court winner for a 6-3 advantage. The 31-year-old then hit an ace on set point, The Associated Press reported.
'That's what makes her No.1 in the world'
Williams, who has not lost a set at this year’s tournament, called for a medical timeout early in the second set because of gastrointestinal issues.
“I just had a little stomach issue,” she said, the Times reported. “I’m already feeling a lot better.”
She looked slightly out of sorts early in the set, going down a break and screaming at the ground after blowing an easy overhead smash, according to the AP.
But that didn't last.
Williams broke back and took a 4-3 lead by running Radwanska around the court with blistering offensive groundstrokes, the AP reported. She won a nearly 10-minute game to pull ahead 5-4 and broke Radwanska for the win. At match point, Williams clenched her fist and screamed in celebration.
"That's what makes her No.1 in the world, playing unbelievable in the very important moments, and just hitting some very powerful shots,” Radwanska said, according to WTA news. “I couldn't really do anything about that against her tonight."
Williams will be going for her 54th WTA title against the unseeded Cirstea, whom she has beaten in straight sets both times they met in previous career meetings.
If Williams wins the final, the American will standalone at No.9 on the all-time list of WTA titles, breaking her tie for ninth place with Monica Seles, WTA writes.
Cirstea is seeking her second WTA title at this event, having won her lone WTA Tour in 2008 at Tashkent.
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