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Williams moves serenely into Cincinnati semis

updated 3:18 PM EDT, Fri August 15, 2014
Serena Williams is looking to serve up the first Cincinnati Masters title of her illustrious career.
Serena Williams is looking to serve up the first Cincinnati Masters title of her illustrious career.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Serena Williams through to semifinals of Cincinnati Masters after win over Jelena Jankovic
  • Stanilas Wawrinka knocked out of men's event by France's Julien Benneteau
  • Roger Federer and Andy Murray face off in evening match for a place in semis
  • Winner will face Milos Raonic after Canadian demolished Fabio Fognini 6-1 6-0

(CNN) -- Serena Williams is through to the semifinals of the Cincinnati Masters after a convincing straight sets win over Jelena Jankovic.

The world No. 1 may have won 17 grand slams and 61 singles titles in all during a glittering career, but getting her hands on the trophy in Cincinnati has proved elusive thus far.

But following Friday's 6-1 6-3 victory over the Serb, Williams' is one step closer to breaking her duck as she looks to fine tune her game ahead of her U.S. Open title defense later this month.

"She's beaten me several times, so I knew today I just had to be focused and do the best I could," Williams said, the WTA website reported.

"It didn't seem fast. I was just trying my best. And she played some great points. I was just trying to not make many errors, stay focused and do the best that I could.

"I had some unbelievable fans in the back who were totally helping me out, too."

A semifinal against either Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland or Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki awaits the American.

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In the other half of the draw, Simona Halep takes on Maria Sharapova with the winner facing wither Ana Ivanovic or Ukraine's Elina Svitolina.

Benneteau stuns Stan

The men were also in quarterfinal action on Friday with France's Julien Benneteau bringing Stanilas Wawrinka's tournament to a premature end.

Apart from a semifinal appearance two seasons ago, the Swiss has a poor record in Cincinnati having tumbled out in the first or second round on five previous occasions.

Wawrinka looked on course to equal his best ever showing as he raced to a one set lead in just 27 minutes.

But the tide soon turned in Benneteau's favor as the Frenchman dominated the remaining two sets breaking the world No. 4's serve four times to run out a 1-6 6-1 6-2 winner in 80 minutes.

"It's my best result in a Masters 1000," Benneteau said, the ATPTour website reported.

"The Masters 1000 are very, very difficult tournaments because the cut is like 40, 45. It's top 45 players in the world on every tournament at this level. You don't have a lot of opportunities to make a very big result," Benneteau added.

Victory sees him become the first Frenchman to advance to the semis at the event for 15 years -- Arnaud Clement eventually lost out to eventual winner Thomas Enqvist of Sweden in 2000.

The world No. 41 will face either Spain's Tommy Robredo, who beat world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the previous round, or world No. 6 David Ferrer.

In the other early match, Canada's Milos Raonic thumped Italy's Fabio Fognini in straight sets 6-1 6-0.

The world No. 7 can now look forward to a semifinal showdown with either Roger Federer or Andy Murray who play on Friday evening.

Read more: Djokovic suffers new setback in Cincinnati

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