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Women's Tennis (WTA)

Serena eases into Cincy semis

Mason, OH (Sports Network) - World No. 1 superstar Serena Williams was an easy quarterfinal winner Friday at the $2.37 million Western & Southern Open.

The reigning U.S. and French Open champion handled rising Romanian Simona Halep 6-0, 6-4 on the hardcourts at the Lindner Family Tennis Center.

The 21-year-old Halep captured three of her previous five events on tour.

Williams, who is fresh off her title in Toronto last week, will meet reigning Cincinnati champion Li Na in Saturday's semifinals. The fifth-seeded Li secured a spot in the semis Thursday night when Agnieszka Radwanska pulled out of the draw in order to head home to Poland to attend her grandfather's funeral.

Li beat German Angelique Kerber in last year's Cincy finale.

Meanwhile, 14th-seeded former world No. 1 Jelena Jankovic upended 12th-seeded Italian Roberta Vinci, 6-0, 6-4. The former U.S. Open runner-up Jankovic was the Cincy champ in 2009 and runner-up in 2011.

In another battle of former world No. 1s, second seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus upended No. 10 seed Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5).

Jankovic and Azarenka will meet in the other semifinal.

This week's winner will earn $426,000. The tournament is part of the U.S. Open Series, or the North American hardcourt events that lead up to the U.S. Open, which will commence August 26.

08/16 23:55:14 ET

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