STANFORD, California, July 30 - Comeback queen Serena
Williams crushed Germany's Sabine Lisicki 6-1 6-2 to move into
the final of the Stanford Classic on Saturday.
Williams will meet ninth ranked Marion Bartoli in the final,
who advanced when Slovakia's Dominica Cibulkova was forced to
withdraw due to a left abdominal strain.
After destroying Maria Sharapova 6-1 6-3 in the
quarter-finals, Williams lifted another gear against Wimbledon
semi-finalist Lisicki, dominating her from the backcourt,
serving more accurately and pouncing on the German's second
It was only Williams's 10th match since her comeback from a
year-long battle with injuries and illness.
"This just continues my journey to do what I can and don't
stop and keep going for it," said Williams, who won 82 percent
of her first serve points and 13 of 17 points on the German's
Williams won the first set when Lisicki sprayed a forehand
volley, and sealed the match with two service winners.
"I didn't play my best because I was too tight," Lisicki
said. "That's not good enough against such a champion like
Serena. I've never played such a strong player.
"I'm hitting the ball pretty hard and I'm not used to
playing a ball so hard coming from her."
Former number one Williams returned to the tour in late
June, and won one match in Eastbourne before falling in the
second round, and then as defending champion, reached the fourth
round of Wimbledon before falling to Bartoli in straight sets.
"I was praying for confidence because this comeback is
totally different than any other comeback that I ever had," she
said. "There are still shots I'm not going for and making that I
will be able to make when I get more confident and more match
Williams holds a 2-1 winning record over the Frenchwoman,
but Bartoli called her victory over the 13-times grand slam
champion at Wimbledon a career-changing victory.
"What I like about her is she doesn't bow down and fights
hard, but I fight hard too," Williams said.
World number 20 Cibulkova said she felt the abdominal injury
on and off during the week and had been advised by a doctor not
to play lest she worsen the injury.
She added that she hoped to play next week's tournament in
(Editing by Ian Ransom; To query or comment on this story
Please double-click on:
for more tennis stories