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Williams makes easy work of Stosur; U.S. up one in Davis Cup

CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Serena Williams even impressed herself with her powerful showing at the Family Circle Cup on Saturday.

Williams needed less than an hour to dispatch second-seeded Samantha Stosur, 6-1, 6-1 and advance to the clay-court final.

"You know, I think it was just one of those days that I could have done anything against anybody," Williams said.

There aren't many people in the world who could've withstood Williams' performance at the Family Circle Tennis Center. The 10th-ranked player was on her game from the start, winning the match's first eight points and rarely letting Stosur catch a breath.

Today (1 p.m., ESPN2), Williams will face Lucie Safarova, a 6-0, 6-0 winner over Polona Hercog, for the championship.

Stosur held serve to cut Williams' lead to 2-1, then lost the next nine games. Stosur, who defeated Williams to win the U.S. Open title last September, got a loud cheer from the crowd when she prevented Williams from shutting her out in the second set.

Williams hit a forehand winner to end the match moments later, and eliminated Stosur from a tournament for the second straight week. Williams beat Stosur 7-5, 6-3 last week at the Sony Ericsson Open, serving 20 aces in the hard-court win.

Williams only had seven aces in this one, but was in command of nearly every shot she hit.

"I have to say this is probably the best match I've played in my career, either in a long time or it's up there in the top five," she said.

Stosur is a skilled 28-year-old player ranked fifth and rising. She combines a powerful serve with the fitness to chase down about any shot. Stosur rallied on Friday to defeat Serena's older sister, Venus, and was seeking to become just the eighth player to beat both Williams sisters in the same tournament.

Serena quickly made sure that didn't happen. She cracked serves over 100 mph, landed returns in both corners and frustrated Stosur at every turn.

Stosur moved up on Williams' serve, varied her own serves -- anything to slow down Williams' relentless march. Stosur hoped to regroup in the second set, yet Williams' powerful serves and ground strokes kept coming.

Already down 30-love in the second set's opening game, Williams sent a rocket shot into the right corner. Stosur tried to chase, realized she couldn't and slowed her movement. "She was way too good," Stosur said.

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Bryans put U.S. ahead

Bob and Mike Bryan defeated Julien Benneteau and Michael Llodra 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (4) Saturday to give the United States a 2-1 lead over France in their Davis Cup quarterfinal.

The Bryans, the top-ranked doubles team, have not lost a Davis Cup match since 2008. They were rarely troubled against a French pair that struggled to find any rhythm on the clay at the Monte Carlo Country Club.

"We were ready for a dogfight," Bob Bryan said. "I thought we did a great job of not letting the crowd get too loud."

Today, No. 11 John Isner faces sixth-ranked Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in singles. Teenager Ryan Harrison, ranked 66th, will play No. 13 Gilles Simon.

"Jo is capable of beating him," France captain Guy Forget said. "We're better ranked than them, so we have to go out and win."

Tsonga looked shaky at times when he beat the inexperienced Harrison in four sets on Friday. Isner's huge serve and dominant forehand present a much bigger threat than Harrison's shot-making.

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