Serena Williams and 3rd seed Marion Bartoli will compete tomorrow for the Bank of the West Classic championship. Bartoli, the 2009 champion, did not play today because her semifinal opponent, Dominika Cibulkova, withdrew from competition. Cibulkova, who sustained an abdominal strain, had an MRI this morning, and was advised to stop playing. Bartoli's quarterfinal opponent, Ayumi Morita, retired after the first set because of an ankle injury.
Williams eliminated Sabine Lisicki in straight sets in tonight's semifinal match. Despite Lisicki's recent comeback, she is simply not (yet?) the same player who won Charleston in 2009. That player had finesse and control and a really good second serve; the one we saw in Stanford tonight had a hit-and-miss first serve and real problems with her second serve. She was easily dominated by Williams, though--in the fourth game of the second set--it looked like she might break through.
Williams defeated Lisicki 6-1, 6-2, and did so with relative ease. She did look winded at times, however, which is to be expected of a player who has had to overcome so much physical stress, and who missed almost an entire year of play on the tour.
In doubles, 2nd seeds Victoria Azarenka and Maria Kirilenko defeated 3rd seeds Julia Goerges and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 4-6, 6-3, 10-5. In the other semifinal match, 1st seeds Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond defeated Shuko Aoyama and Rika Fujiwara 6-1, 6-2.