Serena cruises, Sharapova edges Halep in Cincy quarters


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Mason, OH ( - Reigning U.S. Open champion Serena Williams was an easy quarterfinal winner, while second-seeded Simona Halep was ousted by Maria Sharapova in Friday's action at the $2.5 million Western & Southern Open tennis event.

The world No. 1 stalwart Williams leveled former top-ranked star Jelena Jankovic 6-1, 6-3 in 58 minutes on the hardcourts at Lindner Family Tennis Center.

Williams is now 10-4 lifetime against Jankovic, who titled here in 2009 and was the Cincinnati runner-up in 2011. That includes a win in Dubai earlier this season.

The fifth-seeded Sharapova, meanwhile, rallied from being down a break in the second set to gut out a 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 decision over Halep in a rematch of this spring's French Open final. The five-time Grand Slam champion later earned a critical break in the final stages to prevail in a two-hour, 32-minute thriller.

Sharapova, the 2011 Cincinnati champion and runner-up at this event in 2010, also bested Halep in three sets to win at Roland Garros in June.

The 17-time Grand Slam titlist Williams, last year's Western & Southern Open runner-up to Victoria Azarenka -- who lost to the American great in the last two U.S. Open finals -- will next face another former No. 1 in Saturday's semifinals after Caroline Wozniacki posted another Day 5 upset by taking out fourth-seeded Polish star Agnieszka Radwanska in straight sets.

The 12th-seeded Wozniacki dealt Radwanska a 6-4, 7-6 (7-5) defeat to move to 5-5 all-time versus the former Wimbledon runner-up, who was last week's titlist in Montreal.

Williams and her good friend Wozniacki will meet for the second time in two weeks, as the American stopped the Dane in a quarterfinal in Montreal last week. Williams is 7-1 lifetime versus Wozniacki, including wins in their last four meetings.

Sharapova will take on Ana Ivanovic after the ninth-seeded Serb disposed of Ukraine's Elina Svitolina by a 6-2, 6-3 score.

The 2014 Cincy champion will collect $467,300.

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