Serena Williams battles back to deny Caroline Wozniacki in Cincinnati

Serena Williams celebrates during her match against Caroline Wozniacki on day 8 of the Cincinnati Masters in Ohio.

Story highlights

  • Serena Williams defeats Caroline Wozniacki at Cincinnati Masters
  • World No 1. wins 2-6 6-2 6-4 to reach Ohio final for second straight year
  • David Ferrer comfortably beats Julian Benetteua to reach men's final

Serena Williams defeated Caroline Wozniacki for the second time in just over a week to move into the final of the Cincinnati Masters Saturday.

The world No. 1 has dominated the Dane in recent times, losing only once in nine meetings, but didn't have it all her own way in Ohio.

Like in last week's Rogers Cup quarterfinal matchup between the pair in Montreal, Williams had to bounce back from a set down before recovering to win 2-6 6-2 6-4.

Both players struggled on their serves leading to an unusually high 15 service breaks throughout the match.

The final set witnessed breaks of serve in each of the first five games before Williams pulled away to close out.

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"I got off to a little bit of a slow start, but I was definitely in it," Williams said in quotes carried by the WTA website after the match. "I was just physically grinding and trying to get in there and really just trying to grind out everything.

"(Wozniacki's) a really good returner and she was getting everything back, and making some good shots. It wasn't just on the return, she was able to play some really good points after the return too.

"She's playing great tennis, even better than what she's been playing in the last couple years, taking that defense and adding a lot of offense to it and going for her shots. She does both really well."

For her part, Wozniacki was frustrated to lose but encouraged by how far she pushed Williams given her less than stellar record in matchups between the pair.

"I didn't get many first serves in," Wozniacki said. "When I did, they weren't placed very well.

"It's frustrating, because you lose a match 6-4 in the third and you only hold serve once. I actually broke Serena three times in the set, too. I don't think that really happens very often to her, either.

"I felt like my game was there. I was fighting. I was running. I was trying to take the ball early. I was returning well. Then my serve comes around and I can't seem to hold serve. It's frustrating."

Despite winning 17 grand slams and 61 singles titles in all during a glittering career, Williams has never been able to win the prestigious Cincinnati tournament.

She came close last year but lost out after a nail-biting third set tie-breaker to Victoria Azarenka.

Williams will now meet the winner of Saturday's second semifinal between fifth-seed Maria Sharapova and ninth-seed Ana Ivanovic.

Ferrer marches on

In the first men's semifinal Saturday, David Ferrer comfortably overcame Julian Benetteua in straight sets 6-3 6-2.

Ferrer fired down 20 winners throughout the course of the quickfire match that lasted little more than an hour and 10 minutes.

The Spaniard will now face the winner of Saturday's second semifinal between Roger Federer and Milos Raonic.

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