Serena Williams sets up Stanford final against Bartoli

Serena Williams
Williams, who has won 13 Grand Slams, is in her first final since Wimbledon 2010

Serena Williams marched into the final of the Bank of The West Classic with a 6-1 6-2 victory over Sabine Lisicki.

The former world number one won 82% of her first serve points and 13 of 17 on her German opponent's second serves.

"This just continues my journey to do what I can," said Williams, who will play Marion Bartoli in the final.

Third seed Bartoli advanced to the final, in California, when Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova withdrew because of a left abdominal strain.

Cibulkova said she had been troubled by the injury all week and was advised by a doctor not to play her last-four match because she could make the injury worse.

Williams knows all about injury lay-offs having only recently returned from a year out after a series of health problems, including a cut foot and blood clots in her lungs.

She has fallen to 169 in the world rankings but has been in great form this week, demolishing Maria Sharapova 6-1 6-3 in the quarter-finals.

And in just her 10th match since returning, Williams lifted her game further against Wimbledon semi-finalist Lisicki.

She won the first set when Lisicki missed a forehand volley and wrapped up the victory inside one hour with two service winners.

"I've never played such a strong player," condeded Lisicki.

"I'm hitting the ball pretty hard and I'm not used to playing a ball so hard coming from her."

Bartoli, who had also walked into the semi-final when Japan's Ayumi Morita withdrew with an ankle injury after losing the first set of their quarter-final, is through to her fourth final of the year.

"This has never happened to me but there's not much I can do about it," Bartoli said.

The Frenchwoman ended Williams's defence of her Wimbledon crown this year, beating the American in straight sets in the fourth round in what she called a "career-changing victory".

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