World No. 1 superstar Serena Williams and second-seeded Victoria Azarenka of Belarus were each victorious on Saturday in the semifinals at the $2.37 million Western & Southern Open.
The reigning U.S. and French Open champion Williams dethroned defending champion Li Na of China to reach her first final in Cincinnati with a 7-5, 7-5 triumph on the hardcourts at the Lindner Family Tennis Center.
Williams, who is fresh off her title in Toronto last week, took a 4-2 lead in the second set before Li roared back to take three straight games, only to see Williams win the final three games to finish off the 1-hour, 33-minute affair.
Li beat German Angelique Kerber in last year's Cincy finale and secured a spot in the semis when Agnieszka Radwanska pulled out of the draw in order to head home to Poland to attend her grandfather's funeral.
The former world No. 1 Azarenka had a much tougher time in her semifinal matchup with former U.S. Open runner-up Jelena Jankovic, falling down a set before battling back for a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 triumph.
Williams owns a 12-2 advantage over Azarenka in head-to-head matchups, though the two have split a pair of finals meetings against each other this year, with Azarenka winning in Qatar before Williams took the crown in Italy.
Williams knocked off Azarenka in the finals to win the 2012 U.S. Open as well.
This week's winner will earn $426,000. The tournament is part of the U.S. Open Series, or the North American hardcourt events that lead up to the U.S. Open, which will commence August 26.