* Williams to face Dementieva
* Kleybanova upsets Jankovic, meets Sharapova
(Adds late matches, quotes)
By Steve Keating
TORONTO, Aug 21 World number two Serena
Williams brushed aside qualifier Lucie Safarova 6-3 6-2 to
reach the semi-finals of the Toronto Cup on Friday, where she
was joined by a trio of Russians.
Williams needed just 57 minutes on a blustery centre court
to breeze into the last four and set up a mouth-watering
Wimbledon rematch with fourth seed Elena Dementieva, while
Alisa Kleybanova will meet Maria Sharapova in the other
Tennis fans can expect a treat if Williams and Dementieva
serve up a repeat of their Wimbledon semi, which the American
edged 8-6 in the third set.
"I think it will be a great match, our last match was
really insane," Williams told reporters. "I love playing her,
it will be good.
"I just feel like I've kind of played my way into a rhythm.
I felt really good out there today, I felt like I was really
consistent and moving well."
The 11-times grand slam winner has displayed impressive
form on the Canadian hardcourts, surrendering no more than five
games in any match.
Williams needed a few games to find her range but once she
did Safarova had no answer, the 2001 champion winning seven
games in a row to close out the opening set and build a 4-0
lead in the second.
In contrast to Williams's quick-fire win, Dementieva was
made to sweat for her spot in the last four, rallying for a 6-7
6-1 6-3 victory over feisty Australian Samantha Stosur.
But no player worked harder for her semi-final place than
36th ranked Kleybanova, who won a riveting three hour, 16
minute 6-7 7-6 6-2 slugfest over fifth-seeded Serb Jelena
Kleybanova's gritty performance earned her a loud ovation
from an appreciative crowd and a Saturday date with former
number one Sharapova.
Bidding for her first career title, Kleybanova failed to
convert five set points in the opener before Jankovic snatched
it in a tie-break.
The 20-year-old Russian took the second set in a tie-break
and when Jankovic, still feeling the affects of a late-night
match against Kim Clijsters on Thursday, began to wilt in the
third, Kleybanova swept through the last four games to seal the
"When you have so many important points and every point is
so tough, you have to give 100 percent," Kleybanova told
"It really kills your brain more than physical. I think
today is the best match I have done."
Sharapova, working her way back to top form after nine
months on the sidelines recovering from shoulder surgery, came
back from 5-2 down in the second set to claim a 6-2 7-6 victory
over 14th seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland.
(Editing by Peter Rutherford. To query or comment on this
story email firstname.lastname@example.org)