Competing at her seventh WTA tournament of the season and making the first trip to Canada since 2015, Serena Williams is through to the semi-final following a commanding 6-3, 6-4 victory over Naomi Osaka in an hour and 17 minutes.
The Japanese will pass Ashleigh Barty on the WTA ranking list to become world no. 1 again but her tennis is miles from where it stood in New York and Melbourne, delivering another feeble performance today to suffer the first loss against Serena after those rock-solid wins in Miami and New York last year.
Facing no break points, Williams dominated with her first serve and played well from the field as well, taming her shots nicely to fire 31 winners and 22 unforced errors, leaving the Japanese on only five winners. Osaka faced five break points and got broken once in each set to find herself on the losing side, staying on three WTA titles and still holding the WTA throne.
Both players served well in the first five service games finding the rhythm behind the initial shot and leaving the returners empty-handed. Then, Naomi fended off two break points in game six before Serena delivered the best possible returns to break the rival at 15 in game eight and move 5-3 in front, taking four points in a row in the next game to notch the opener 6-3 after 32 minutes.
Osaka hit only two winners in the first set and couldn't impose her shots at the beginning of the second either, allowing Williams to move in front with a forehand winner at 1-1 and falling 3-1 behind after a backhand down the line winner from the American.
Serena held after two deuces to extend the lead to 4-2, holding at 5-4 on the fourth match point to advance into the sixth straight Canadian Open semi-final in the last ten years where she should face Simona Halep in the repeat of the Wimbledon final from a month ago.