MASON, Ohio (AP) — Serena Williams advanced to the semifinals of a tournament she has never won. Given her history in Cincinnati, she’ll avoid thinking about the long-awaited title.
Williams needed only 58 minutes to beat Jelena Jankovic 6-1, 6-3 on Friday in the Western & Southern Open, a dominating performance that left her feeling good about her chances the rest of the way. One caveat: She’s felt this way before and lost.
“Sure, I’d love to win here,” Williams said. “But at the same time, I don’t want to put that pressure on myself. I’m trying to stay pressure-free.”
She advanced a day after Novak Djokovic was upset in straight sets by Tommy Robredo, ending his quest for the only Masters title that has eluded him. Djokovic wanted to win the title this week and become the first player to take all nine Masters events.
Instead, it’s Williams who has the chance to go for an elusive title. She lost in the final last year to Victoria Azarenka, dropping a third-set tiebreaker. She has reached the semifinals only one other time (2006).
Williams’ overall performance Friday was one of the best of her six Cincinnati appearances.
“I feel really good,” said Williams, who had seven aces. “I feel I’m really relaxed now.”
The eighth-seeded Jankovic never pressured her. Jankovic didn’t serve an ace and hit only five winners.
“I felt slow,” she said. “For some reason, I was late on shots. I didn’t do anything well. She didn’t have to do a lot. She played her game, and I didn’t do anything to disrupt that.”