Serena Williams defeats Naomi Osaka in rematch

FILE Wimbledon 2019 finalist Serena Williams

The 37-year-old is looking to shore up her hardcourt game for the August 26-to-Sept.

Having suffered two Grand Slam final defeats, Williams will go in search of her 24th major title in NY next month, while Osaka will look to defend her crown after early exits at Wimbledon and the French Open.

The wait for her first career WTA Tour title will continue, as Williams moves on to face 19-year-old Canadian Bianca Andreescu in what is the most riveting final tournament organizers could have asked for. With a 5-3 advantage, she held serve to take the first set.

Williams came out strongly in the contest here on Friday night and delivered a serving masterclass that denied Osaka any break point opportunities.

French Open champion Ashleigh Barty's stint as the world's top-ranked player was assured of ending after she was knocked out on Tuesday.

Osaka called Williams, 16 years her senior, her "tennis mom" prior to the match, to which Williams responded: "I'd say more or less tennis grandma".

Humbled this week in Toronto, Osaka acknowledged this loss belatedly provided the experience she had always anticipated when facing Williams. "I think I played pretty well".

"In the third set I told myself, 'Go big or go home, ' " Andreescu said.

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"But, yeah, I'm not really mad at this. We haven't played since NY, which was a really good match for her", said Williams as she builds up to the US Open in two weeks.

Bouzkova notched her third straight win over a Grand Slam champion, having beaten former US Open victor Sloane Stephens and former French Open champ Jelena Ostapenko.

After the match, Osaka spoke of her admiration for Williams, whom she has beaten on their two previous meetings. "I thought back to my first Grand Slam".

Up next for Andreescu will be unseeded American Sofia Kenin, who extended her impressive Toronto run with a 7-6 (2) 6-4 win over Ukrainian former champion Elina Svitolina. "I just had to make some adjustments".

"I've never faced her but I've kind of become a fan with everyone cheering so hard".

In Montreal, top-seeded Rafael Nadal rallied to reach the Rogers Cup semifinals, beating No. 7 Fabio Fognini of Italy 2-6, 6-1, 6-2.

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

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