Sunday, July 31, 2011

Serena, Bartoli have an easy time

   Fans didn't get to see much singles Saturday at Stanford.
   During the day session, third-seeded Marion Bartoli of France reached the final of the Bank of the West Classic without hitting a ball as eighth-seeded Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia defaulted because of a strained abdominal muscle.
   At night, Serena Williams of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., brushed aside Sabine Lisicki of Germany 6-1, 6-2 in 59 minutes in a matchup of unseeded players. Williams advanced to her first final since winning Wimbledon last year.
    "I have never played her before, so I did not know what to expect," said Lisicki, who reached her first Grand Slam semifinal recently at Wimbledon. "I’m not used to having the ball come back at me so hard. It was a new experience, a learning experience."
   Williams is 2-1 against Bartoli, who won the last meeting in straight sets in the fourth round at Wimbledon in June. It was Williams' second tournament since returning from an 11-month absence caused by an off-the-court foot injury and life-threatening blood clots in her lungs.
   "I’m a much better player now – I was really struggling there," Williams said. "I put a lot of pressure on myself, being the defending champ and having a lot to lose."
   This is the 26-year-old Bartoli's ninth consecutive year in the Bank of the West Classic. After failing to advance past the second round in the first five years, she has reached the final in three of the past four years. She upset Venus Williams for the 2009 title and was the runner-up to Aleksandra Wozniak of Canada in 2008.
   Serena Williams, 29, is playing in the Bank of the West Classic for only the third year. The former world No. 1 reached the semifinals in 2008 and the quarterfinals in 2009.
   Ranked No. 169, Williams will rise to the top 80 with a victory today and approximately  No. 110 with a loss.
   Both finalists will be fresh.
   Aside from her three-set victory over Maria Kirilenko in the second round, Williams has lost only seven games in three matches. She blanked former Sacramento Capital Anastasia Rodionova 6-0, 6-0 in the first round.
   Bartoli, ranked a career-high No. 9, has played only three sets in the tournament. After receiving a first-round bye, she won in straight sets in the second round and triumphed 6-1, retired in the quarterfinals before Cibulkova's default.
   "This has never happened to me, but there’s not much I can do about it," Bartoli said. "It’s a shame Dominika had to be put out. It will be an extremely tough match (today), and I need to get ready."

Results - Saturday, July 30, 2011
Singles - Semifinals
(3) Marion Bartoli (FRA) d. (8/WC) Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) w/o (left abdominal strain)
Serena Williams (USA) d. Sabine Lisicki (GER) 61 62
Doubles - Semifinals
(1) Huber/Raymond (USA/USA) d. Aoyama/Fujiwara (JPN/JPN) 61 62
(2) Azarenka/Kirilenko (BLR/RUS) d. (3) Goerges/Zahlavova Strycova (GER/CZE) 46 63 105 (Match TB)
Order Of Play - Sunday, July 31, 2011
Stadium (from 12.00hrs)
1. Singles Final: Marion Bartoli vs. Serena Williams
2. Doubles Final: Huber/Raymond vs. Azarenka/Kirilenko

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