Serena advances to quarterfinals
MASON, Ohio (AP)
The women's side of the Western & Southern Open played mostly to form Thursday, with No. 1 Serena Williams beating Germany's Mona Barthel 6-4, 6-1 in only 63 minutes, reaching the quarterfinals in a tournament where she never has reached the final.
''I always struggle here,'' Williams said. ''I've got to get used to everything. It's so different from the rest of the tournaments I've been playing.
''I can't quite figure out why I'm always a little off. But champions adjust.''
Also advancing were second-seeded Victoria Azarenka, fourth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska, fifth-seeded Li Na, 10th-seeded Caroline Wozniacki, 12th-seeded Roberta Vinci, 14th-seeded Jelena Jankovic and unseeded Simona Halep.
A few hours after her win, Radwanska withdrew from the tournament so she could attend her grandfather's funeral. Li, who won the tournament last year, automatically moved into the semifinals.
Jankovic overcame a slow start and beat American Sloane Stephens 3-6, 7-5, 7-5. Stephens upset third-seeded Maria Sharapova in the second round but struggled with her serve after she won the first set against Jankovic.
Azarenka advanced with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over No. 33 Magdalena Rybarikova. Azarenka withdrew from last week's Rogers Cup in Toronto with a lower back injury. She reached the quarterfinals for the first time in three appearances at the event.