Serena Williams beats Naomi Osaka in rematch

Back on top Japan's Naomi Osaka will return to number one in the world after Czech Karolina Pliskova fell to Canadian Bianca Andreescu in the quarter-finals of the WTA tournament in Toronto

Williams had lost both prior meetings with the soon-to-be recrowned World No.1 in straight sets, including their infamous clash in the 2018 US Open final.

In a rematch of last year's controversial US Open final won by Osaka, eighth-seeded Williams was firing on all cylinders against the second-seeded Japanese star.

Williams has apologised for her meltdown at Flushing Meadows a year ago and the 23-time grand slam champion produced a brilliant display against Osaka.

Williams will face Czech qualifier Marie Bouzkova on Saturday.

Despite the loss, Osaka, who crashed out of Wimbledon in the first round last month, will return to the world No. 1 spot on Monday following Ashleigh Barty's opening round defeat in Toronto.

Osaka went into the match with a flawless record against her former idol, but was unable to preserve that record as the 37-year-old veteran came out on top 6-3, 6-4.

"We haven't played since NY, which was a really good match for her", said Williams, adding that she feels her own game is coming on as she'd hoped in the buildup to this year's US Open at Flushing Meadows.

However, Osaka - playing more tentatively in windy conditions - sent a forehand long to give Williams, a three-time victor of the tournament, a break in the eighth game.

"It was a better match for me today", she continued.


"I just wanted to come out and try to win a set this time, because she's beaten me twice", Serena Williams said in an interview.

"In the third set I told myself, 'Go big or go home,"' Andreescu said.

Victory in Canada sees Williams claim her first win against Osaka, who still leads their personal rivalry 2-1. But also, at the same time, I feel like that's a position that I think requires a lot of work and a lot of just hardheadedness.

"This is someone that I looked up to forever", said the two-time Grand Slam champion.

For that, she will have to dominate whatever happens two other young players, the oldest of the other three semi-finalists being only 21 years old. "It s definitely not where I want to be, but I m getting there".

The 37-year-old is looking to shore up her hardcourt game for the August 26-to-Sept. Kenin beat sixth-seeded Elina Svitolina of Ukraine 7-6 (2), 6-4.

But the 19-year-old, who shot to prominence with her Indian Wells triumph in March, went toe-to-toe with her more experienced opponent to win by serving out to love.

Williams indeed controlled Friday's match, which took just 75 minutes.

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