Naomi Osaka was offered a dose of reality after her winning start against Serena Williams was ended, but the Japanese claimed defeat meant she "accomplished [her] dream".

Two-time grand slam champion Osaka will return to the world number one ranking next week, yet she crashed out of the Rogers Cup on Friday in a 6-3 6-4 defeat to Williams.

The all-time WTA great is an icon for Osaka; however, the 21-year-old had won their only two prior meetings - including an incredible US Open final in which Williams repeatedly ranted at the officials.

Humbled this week in Toronto, Osaka acknowledged this loss belatedly provided the experience she had always anticipated when facing Williams.

"For me, it's always fun to play her," she told a news conference. "This is someone that I looked up to forever.

"And, actually, this is how I thought the first time I played her in Miami was going to go.

"So in a weird way, losing today, I accomplished my dream. I know that sounds kind of weird, but if there's anyone in the world that I would want to lose to - of course I would never want to lose - I don't mind losing to her, because I learned a lot.

"And this is someone that I kind of modelled my game after when I was little. So this is such a big learning experience for me."

Osaka said Williams played "amazing, which is what she does", and the victor agreed her level had improved from the pair of 2018 defeats.

"I knew [Osaka's] game a little bit more, so that's a little easier," Williams said. "And I'm just overall a little bit better. You know, last year was a miraculous year for me, to be honest.

"So I know her game. I watch her a lot. I knew what I needed to do to hopefully try to get a win today, and it helped a little bit."

As Williams advances to face Marie Bouzkova, Osaka will work to defend her restored ranking more successfully than last time.

Osaka's form fell off a cliff after taking number one with the Australian Open title and she later conceded the pressure had been tough to handle.

She explained on Friday: "I guess I'm excited. But also, at the same time, I feel like that's a position that I think requires a lot of work and a lot of just hardheadedness.

"I can't really let what other people say affect me, and I just have to keep working hard and putting effort. I think that the results, of course, will show, but I have to not think too much about winning or losing."

Serena Williams is the last seed standing at the Rogers Cup as defending champion Simona Halep made a quarter-final exit on Friday.

Williams was in impressive form as she powered past Naomi Osaka in their first meeting since last year's controversial US Open final.

The American great is the only seed into the last four, with Halep's title defence coming to an end at the WTA Premier tournament.

 

WILLIAMS WONDERFUL AGAINST OSAKA

Williams has apologised for her meltdown at Flushing Meadows last year and the 23-time grand slam champion produced a brilliant display against Osaka.

Osaka had won her previous two matches against Williams in straight sets, but the 37-year-old secured a 6-3 6-4 victory over the Japanese star on Friday.

Williams may have been expecting to face Halep in a rematch of their Wimbledon final, but the Romanian bowed out against Marie Bouzkova.

The Czech qualifier continued her run, winning the first set 6-4 when Halep retired injured.

PLISKOVA, SVITOLINA STUNNED

Karolina Pliskova also exited in the quarter-finals, suffering a 6-0 2-6 6-4 loss to Canadian Bianca Andreescu.

That result meant Osaka, who later lost to Williams, will replace Ashleigh Barty atop the world rankings.

Andreescu will face Sofia Kenin after the American upset Ukrainian sixth seed Elina Svitolina 7-6 (7-2) 6-4.

At 37, Williams is by far the oldest player left in the draw, with the others – Bouzkova (21), Andreescu (19) and Kenin (20) all under 22.

Serena Williams produced a brilliant display to claim a straight-sets win over Naomi Osaka in the Rogers Cup quarter-finals on Friday.

In the first meeting between the stars since last year's controversial US Open final, Williams was in impressive form, recording a 6-3 6-4 victory in Toronto.

Williams' meltdown at Flushing Meadows during the decider in 2018 overshadowed what was Osaka's first grand slam success.

The 23-time grand slam champion has since apologised and, in their first meeting since, Williams delivered an impeccable performance at the WTA Premier tournament.

Impacted by slow starts this week, Williams made a better opening to her clash with Japanese star Osaka, who had to dig out of a hole at 2-3.

However, Osaka – playing more tentatively in windy conditions – sent a forehand long to give Williams, a three-time winner of the tournament, a break in the eighth game.

Williams took the set with a big serve and then broke again in the third game of the second set as Osaka, who will return to top spot in the rankings, struggled to find answers.

The American had lost her previous two meetings with Osaka, but managed to close out what was an impressive victory.

Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka will go head-to-head for the first time since the controversial 2018 US Open decider after the pair reached the Rogers Cup quarter-finals.

Osaka prevailed against childhood hero Williams last year at Flushing Meadows, where the 23-time grand slam champion's epic meltdown contributed to her defeat.

Williams was issued a code violation for what umpire Carlos Ramos deemed to be coaching from Patrick Mouratoglou, irritating the former world number one who insisted she was not a cheat.

A point penalty for racquet abuse led to her branding Ramos a "liar" and a "thief" and she was then docked a game, after which she called for the match referee and alleged she was being treated differently to male players.

Osaka's maiden major was overshadowed by Williams' behaviour. Now, the two players are set for a rematch in Toronto.

 

SERENA SURVIVES ALEXANDROVA TEST

The 37-year-old American star was pushed by Ekaterina Alexandrova in a 7-5 6-4 victory on Thursday.

Williams trailed the Russian qualifier 3-0 in the first and 3-1 in the second, however, the eighth seed produced when it mattered most to advance at the WTA Premier event.

A three-time champion, Williams – playing for the first time since Wimbledon – said: "I definitely feel like it takes a while to get back into the rhythm, because we've had a long season of just clay and then grass, and now we're on hard courts. So it definitely feels different, especially for me now. Usually I don't feel that huge of a difference, but for whatever reason I do this year."

 

OSAKA ON TRACK TO RECLAIM TOP RANKING

Australian Open champion and second seed Osaka overcame teenager Iga Swiatek 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 in the last 16.

Osaka rallied from a break and two set points down to eventually prevail against the Polish 18-year-old.

The Japanese star is on track to return to the WTA's summit on Monday ahead of Karolina Pliskova, who must beat Bianca Andreescu to have any chance of claiming the top ranking.

Pliskova accounted for Anett Kontaveit 6-3 7-5, while Andreescu outlasted Kiki Bertens 6-1 6-7 (7-9) 6-4.

 

HALEP'S TITLE DEFENCE ALIVE

Defending champion Simona Halep eased past Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-2 6-1 in just 67 minutes.

Halep – the fourth seed – was a class above as she reached the Rogers Cup quarters for the fifth time.

Next up for Halep is qualifier Marie Bouzkova, who stunned former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko 6-2 6-2.

Sixth seed Elina Svitolina and Sofia Kenin also moved through to the last eight.

Former world number one Serena Williams battled past Ekaterina Alexandrova to book her spot in the Rogers Cup quarter-finals.

Williams – the eighth seed – was far from her fluid best but saw off her Russian opponent 7-5 6-4 in Toronto on Thursday.

A three-time champion of the WTA Premier event, Williams will face either second seed Naomi Osaka or teenager Iga Swiatek in the last eight.

Williams has made slow starts throughout her campaign in Canada this week and the 23-time grand slam winner continued that theme against Alexandrova.

The 37-year-old found herself trailing 3-0 in the first set, a netted forehand in the opening game setting the tone as she was broken twice.

However, Williams reeled off four successive games and won seven of nine to gain momentum against Alexandrova, who fended off three set points at 4-5.

Williams eventually closed out the set thanks to a double fault – Alexandrova's eighth – but just as the American star threatened to go on a roll, she was halted.

The veteran started the second set just like she did in the first, dropping serve and to love after sending a forehand wide in the opening game before falling 3-1 behind.

Alexandrova was a menace throughout, saving three match points but the 24-year-old was unable to prevent Williams – who was willing herself on – from advancing to the quarters.

Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka eased into the last 16 at the Rogers Cup, while Simona Halep survived a scare on Wednesday.

Williams, a three-time champion at the WTA Premier event, was in good form in her first appearance since Wimbledon, beating Elise Mertens in the second round.

Osaka moved a step closer to reclaiming the number one ranking, while Halep edged through.

 

SUPER SERENA, OSAKA CLOSE TO TOP

Williams, the eighth seed, came from a break down in each set to get past Mertens 6-3 6-3.

The American 23-time grand slam champion was in decent form against Mertens, who troubled Williams at different times.

Meanwhile, Ashleigh Barty will lose the top ranking after Osaka booked her spot in the third round.

Osaka took the first set over Tatjana Maria 6-2 before the German qualifier retired.

It means the Japanese star or Karolina Pliskova will replace Barty, who lost on Tuesday, atop the world rankings.

HALEP SURVIVES SCARE

Halep, the defending champion, moved through but only just, edging Jennifer Brady.

The Romanian fourth seed and Wimbledon champion overcame the qualifier 4-6 7-5 7-6 (7-5) after almost two and a half hours.

It was a good day for the seeds – Pliskova and Elina Svitolina advancing with the likes of Belinda Bencic and Anett Kontaveit.

Pliskova's bid to return to the top of the rankings is alive after a 6-4 6-7 (4-7) 6-2 victory over qualifier Alison Riske.

Svitolina, meanwhile, battled past Katerina Siniakova 6-3 3-6 6-3.

 

WOE FOR WOZNIACKI

The only seed to depart was Wozniacki, who fell to 18-year-old qualifier Iga Swiatek 1-6 6-3 6-4.

Wozniacki, the 2010 champion and 2017 runner-up, led 3-0 in the final set before losing six of the final seven games to the Polish teenager.

Serena Williams powered past Elise Mertens in the second round of the Rogers Cup in Toronto on Wednesday.

The 23-time grand slam champion recovered from a break down in both sets to claim a 6-3 6-3 victory over Mertens midweek.

In action for the first time since her loss in the Wimbledon final, Williams – a three-time champion of the WTA Premier event – was tested.

The eighth seed was broken early in each set but rallied to claim a strong win over Mertens in the first meeting between the pair.

Williams fell 3-1 behind in the first set before reeling off five consecutive games to take the opener.

She was then broken in the second game of the second set before responding, Mertens unable to hold in the fifth game despite initially recovering from 0-40 down.

That would give Williams complete control as she moved into a last-16 clash against Ekaterina Alexandrova.

Ashleigh Barty and Sloane Stephens bowed out of the Rogers Cup on a day of upsets in Toronto on Tuesday.

World number one Barty and last year's runner-up Stephens were two of five seeds to fall at the WTA Premier tournament in Canada.

While that pair departed in the second round, Madison Keys, Aryna Sabalenka and Anastasija Sevastova were first-round losers.

 

BARTY, STEPHENS BOW OUT

In action for the first time since Wimbledon, Barty suffered a shock 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 6-4 loss to American Sofia Kenin.

The Australian is now at risk of losing her top ranking, with Naomi Osaka and Karolina Pliskova having the chance to return to number one.

The only way Barty will remain number one is if Osaka loses her opening match and Pliskova fails to reach the semi-finals.

Runner-up last year, Stephens went down to qualifier Marie Bouzkova 6-2 7-5 for her third straight loss.

SEEDS SLIP UP

Keys almost got through her opener, but eventually lost to Donna Vekic 3-6 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-5) after squandering three match points.

The American, runner-up in 2016, served for the match at 5-4 in the second set, only to give up a 40-0 lead before bowing out.

Sabalenka was also edged, going down to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 3-6 6-3 7-5.

Sevastova, the 10th seed, was beaten by China's Zhang Shuai 7-6 (7-5) 6-2, with Kiki Bertens the only seed to progress.

Bertens thrashed qualifier Francesca Di Lorenzo 6-2 6-1 in just over an hour.

 

AZARENKA POWERS THROUGH, VENUS DEPARTS

Victoria Azarenka booked her spot in the second round thanks to a 6-2 6-2 victory over Camila Giorgi.

The 2014 runner-up Venus Williams, meanwhile, was well beaten by Carla Suarez Navarro 6-4 6-2.

In an all-Canadian clash, Bianca Andreescu got the better of wildcard Eugenie Bouchard 4-6 6-1 6-4.

Former world number one Maria Sharapova lost a three-set epic against Anett Kontaveit in the first round of the WTA Rogers Cup.

Sharapova – a five-time grand slam champion – was eliminated following a two hour, 41-minute thriller in Toronto on Monday.

Former Australian Open winner Caroline Wozniacki moved through to the second round, while Serena Williams will open her campaign against Elise Mertens.

 

SHARAPOVA STUNNED IN TORONTO

The 2009 runner-up saw victory slip through her grasp, beaten 4-6 6-3 6-4 by Kontaveit.

Sharapova was up a set a break before 16th seed Kontaveit prevailed in a tense three-setter, which lasted almost three hours.

Playing for the first time since retiring from her first-round match at Wimbledon, Sharapova – seeking just her fourth victory since January due to injury problems – was unable to stop the Estonian.

"I put a lot of work in to get to this stage, so I think to finish off this match is good," Sharapova said. "Definitely not the result I would have liked, but overall feeling pretty good about it."

It will not get any easier for Kontaveit, who is set to play the winner of Venus Williams and Carla Suarez Navarro.

 

WOZNIACKI MAKES WINNING START

Former champion Wozniacki accounted for Yulia Putintseva 6-4 6-2 on day one.

The 2010 winner in Montreal, Wozniacki trailed 4-2 after dropping serve in the opening game before reeling off four straight games to take out the set.

Wozniacki then won four games in a row from 2-2 in the second set as the 15th seed awaits either Iga Swiatek or Ajla Tomljanovic in the next round.

"I'm just happy with the win today and that I'm through to the next round," said Wozniacki, who was also runner-up in 2017.

 

MERTENS SETS UP SERENA SHOWDOWN

Williams awaits in the second round after Belgian Mertens outlasted Aliaksandra Sasnovich 3-6 6-3 6-1.

Former world number one and eighth seed Williams is a three-time winner of the event, having last triumphed in 2013.

Sofia Kenin set up a clash with world number one and top seed Ashleigh Barty with a 6-4 6-3 win over Hsieh Su-wei, while defending champion Simona Halep is next up for Jennifer Brady – who saw off Kristina Mladenovic 6-1 6-2.

Former French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko triumphed but three-time major champion Angelique Kerber – the 12th seed – was shocked by Daria Kasatkina 0-6 6-2 6-4.

Serena Williams is playing pain free as she gears up to compete in the Rogers Cup in Toronto.

The American will take to the court for the first time since losing the final of Wimbledon to Simona Halep in comprehensive fashion last month.

Williams, a 23-time grand slam winner, has struggled with a knee injury for most of 2018 but is now fighting fit ahead of her tilt for a fourth triumph at the tournament.

"Yes, I'm feeling good, my knee is better, much better since a little bit before Wimbledon," she said. 

"I think now that is better I feel like I can start doing a lot better.

"I don't know if I had to change my game, I just had to come back - more than anything after becoming a mum I was already playing professionally in six months which is pretty fast. 

"I had to just get back into the swing of things and had to get back just being able to be a parent and split my time being a professional athlete."

Williams has reached three slam finals since becoming a mother for the first time but has lost on each occasion.

As she reaches the twilight of her career, Williams vowed to continue grasping the opportunities that come her way.

"I love my job and I love what I do and I say this all the time that I feel really blessed and fortunate to have my career and my job and it's fun," she added. 

"It's fun to be part of an elite group of people that can go out and just play; just two people in front of an amazing crowd. 

"It's not for much incredibly longer I'm going to do that and to be able to do that, there's just not many people that can do it. And so I'm just really proud to be part of that."

Zheng Saisai claimed her maiden WTA Tour title with an upset win over Aryna Sabalenka in the Silicon Valley Classic final on Sunday.

The 25-year-old from China recorded a 6-3 7-6 (7-3) victory over second seed Sabalenka in the decider of the WTA Premier event in San Jose, California.

Zheng, a runner-up in the women's doubles at the French Open this year, was ruthless on her way to a first WTA crown.

She converted all five of her break points as Sabalenka managed to take just three of her seven opportunities.

Zheng had lost her only previous WTA final – in Nanchang last year – but is now set to rise back into the world's top 40.

Sabalenka, meanwhile, now holds a 3-4 win-loss record in WTA deciders, her run of three consecutive victories in finals coming to an end.

Jessica Pegula outclassed Camila Giorgi 6-2 6-2 to win a first WTA Tour title at the Citi Open.

The unseeded American was in fine form on a stuffy day in Washington, saving the only break point she faced in the entire match against Giorgi.

Pegula had earned a comeback win over Iga Swiatek and ousted Anna Kalinskaya in a three-set semi-final win.

On this occasion, it took just 59 minutes for Pegula, whose parents own Buffalo franchises the Bills and the Sabres, to secure the home triumph.

Pegula - who was joined on court by her pet dog during the trophy presentation - now holds a 3-1 head-to-head record over Giorgi and goes one better than her losing effort in the Quebec final last year.

Patricia Maria Tig came from behind to beat favourite Alison van Uytvanck 3-6 6-1 6-2 in the final of the Karlsruhe Open.

World number 65 Van Uytvanck - who beat her partner Greet Minnen in the first round - had been expected to lift the title in the inaugural edition of the clay court tournament in Germany.

But Tig, ranked 223, fought back from a set down on Sunday.

Van Uytvanck broke serve three times as she nosed ahead, but Tig - who only dropped one set throughout the entire tournament - responded with three breaks of her own to restore parity.

And, after breaking once more to make it 4-2 in set three, 25-year-old Tig got the better of Van Uytvanck's serve to claim her first WTA title with two match points to spare.

Aryna Sabalenka reached the WTA Silicon Valley Classic final after easing past Donna Vekic on Saturday.

Belarusian Sabalenka – the second seed – was too good for Vekic, winning the semi-final 6-4 6-3 in San Jose.

Sabalenka and fifth seed Vekic traded breaks in the opening set but the former broke in the 10th game to close it out on her opponent's serve.

Vekic fended off a match point at 5-3 in the second set but it only delayed the inevitable as Sabalenka served it out in the next game.

Sabalenka – a three-time winner on the WTA Tour – will face Zheng Saisai in Sunday's decider.

Zheng stunned seventh seed and last year's runner-up Maria Sakkari 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 to advance to the final of the WTA Premier event.

After upstaging seeds Danielle Collins and Amanda Anisimova en route to the semis, Zheng continued her fine run as she eyes her maiden WTA crown.

Camila Giorgi booked her spot in the WTA Citi Open final after overcoming American wildcard Caty McNally in straight sets on Saturday.

Italian Giorgi moved through to her seventh WTA final courtesy of a 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 victory in Washington.

McNally had impressed in the American capital this week, 17-year-old upstaging fourth seed Hsieh Su-wei in the quarter-final for her first career top-50 win.

However, McNally was no match for Giorgi – who hit three aces and was only broken once throughout the straight-sets triumph.

Standing in the way of Giorgi and a third WTA crown is Jessica Pegula after the unseeded American outlasted Anna Kalinskaya 6-3 1-6 6-1.

While McNally failed to make it through to the singles showpiece, she teamed up with teenage sensation Coco Gauff to claim the doubles title.

Gauff announced herself on the WTA Tour at Wimbledon, where the 15-year-old stunned Venus Williams en route to the fourth round.

The American prodigy and McNally united for glory on Saturday, with the unseeded pair shocking fourth seeds Maria Sanchez and Fanny Stollar 6-2 6-2.

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