Saturday, August 10, 2019 – Serena Williams plays Marie Bouzkova in semi-finals of Rogers Cup presented by National Bank at the Aviva Centre in Toronto, Ontario. (Jared Wickerham/Tennis Canada)
For the first time in six years, Serena Williams will play in the final at Rogers Cup presented by National Bank.
The 23-time Grand Slam champion came from behind to defeat the Czech qualifier Marie Bouzkova 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 to advance to her fifth career final in Canada. She’ll now face Mississauga-native Bianca Andreescu with a chance to match Chris Evert and Monica Seles for the most Rogers Cup titles in the Open Era (4).
Coming into this match, Bouzkova had defeated three straight Grand Slam champions (Stephens, Ostapenko, Halep) en route to her first-ever semi-final appearance at a WTA event. And early on, it looked like she might make it four straight.
The 21 year old from Czech Republic got off to a flying start. She converted her second break point in the opening game, before consolidating the break by tallying four straight service points in a row. Later, now leading 3-1, Bouzkova went up a double break thanks to a solid forehand winner.
The Czech youngster was on fire in the opener, but it also coincided with some uncharacteristic mistakes from Williams. Trailing 3-1, Serena failed to save break point when she hit a two-hand backhand into the net. In her very next service game, the 37 year old American committed two double faults to set up double set point for Bouzkova. The Czech star would convert on her second set point following another unforced error from Williams. Bouzkova took the first set in just 28 minutes.
However, Serena steadied the ship in the second set – as she started to find her rhythm. With the set knotted at 3-3, Williams hit a powerful forehand winner to go up a break. From there, Serena continued to dictate the set with her sheer power. In Bouzkova’s next service game, Williams won four of five points highlighted by another forehand winner to force a third and decisive set.
Once there, the three-time Rogers Cup champion carried that momentum. Early in the third set, Williams saved three break points to score an important hold. In the very next game, with the American leading 2-1, she converted her only break point of the set when she struck a great forehand that Bouzkova failed to return. From there, Williams would hold to win the match and secure her 500th career hard-court victory.
In nine appearances at Rogers Cup, Williams will now have reached the final on five occasions. History will be on her side when she faces Andreescu in their first-ever meeting on Sunday. The World No. 9 has has lost in a final in Canada only once before. It happened in her Rogers Cup debut, when she fell in the final to Martina Hingis back in 2000.