Voice of Sport

Wow! Check who is in the Final of US Open tennis

Williams' win sets up a final against her good friend Caroline Wozniacki on Sunday


NO. 1 seed, American Serena Williams booked a spot in her fourth US Open final on Friday with a dominant 6-1, 6-3 win over No. 18 seed Russian Ekaterina Makarova in the semi-finals.

In a match that lasted just one hour, Williams put forth her cleanest performance of the tournament, firing 24 winners to just six for Makarova.

The Russian was playing in her first Slam semi-final and was overwhelmed by Williams’ power and consistency off the ground.

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Williams’ win sets up a final against her good friend Caroline Wozniacki on Sunday. Wozniacki advanced to her first Slam final since 2009 after her opponent Peng Shuai, trailing 7-6 (1), 4-3, was forced to retire with heat illness.

After a disappointing year, if Williams can make that 21 in a row by beating Wozniacki in Sunday’s final, the 32-year-old American will become the first woman since Chris Evert in the 1970s to win three consecutive titles at the tournament.

After Makarova held to 1-all, she went 40 minutes until taking another game. Powered by swift serves and stinging forehands, Williams grabbed nine straight games, including a truly dominant stretch in which she took 22 of 24 points.

Retired

All in all, Williams’ semifinal was far less dramatic than Friday’s earlier match, when the 10th-seeded Wozniacki’s opponent, China’s Peng Shuai, retired in the second set because of heat illness and left the court in a wheelchair.

Wozniacki lost her only previous major final, at the 2009 US Open. Williams, meanwhile, is seeking a sixth US Open championship and 18th major singles title overall, which would tie her with Evert and Martina Navratilova.

Grand Slamming

With her win Friday, Serena Williams moves into a tie for the fifth most Grand Slam final appearances. Williams will meet Caroline Wozniacki Sunday for the title.

Player GS Finals W-L
C. Evert 34 18-16
M. Navratilova 32 18-14
S. Graf 31 22-9
M. Smith Court 29 24-5
S. Williams 22 17-4*
H. Wills Moody 22 19-3
*Entering 2014 US Open final
–ESPN Stats & Information

“She obviously wants to win and go for her first Grand Slam,” Williams said about her close friend Wozniacki. “I want to win a Grand Slam for some history.”

This Grand Slam season has been rather poor by Williams’ lofty standards, though: She lost in the fourth round at the Australian Open, the second round at the French Open, and the third round at Wimbledon.

“It feels so good. You never know. I am so happy — you have no idea,” Williams said in an on-court interview. “I didn’t think I’d be here today.”

Looked good

But over the past two weeks in New York, Williams has looked very much like a woman who is ranked and seeded No. 1, winning all 12 sets she has played. It might have helped that, because of a series of surprises, she faced only one seeded opponent until Friday, eliminating No. 11 Flavia Pennetta in the quarterfinals.

Makarova defeated No. 7 Eugenie Bouchard — the runner-up at Wimbledon in July — and No. 16 Victoria Azarenka — a two-time Australian Open champion and a finalist at the US Open in 2012 and 2013 — to reach her first major semifinal in her 29th try. A terrific run, to be sure, but the lanky left-hander never stood a chance against Williams.

Retire

Peng Shuai suffered severe cramping and, after trying to continue, had to retire from her US Open women’s semifinal match against Caroline Wozniacki. She left the court in a wheelchair.

The whole thing lasted only an hour, and with her older sister Venus sitting in the stands, Williams compiled a 24-6 edge in winners.

In the first semifinal, when the temperature was in the high 80s (above 30 Celsius) and the humidity near 70 percent, Wozniacki was leading 7-6 (1), 4-3 when Peng was forced to quit. She began showing signs of distress early in the second set, clutching at her left thigh. During that set’s eighth game, Peng clearly was in serious trouble.

Hopped

In a scary scene at 30-all, the 28-year-old Peng paused, turned her back to the net and hopped to the back wall behind the baseline. She leaned and tried to stretch her right leg. She resumed playing there, and Wozniacki double-faulted. That’s when Peng took another break and limped, with help from two people, to a shaded hallway just off the court to get checked by a trainer and doctor.

Peng was allowed a medical timeout, and Wozniacki practiced serving during what became a 10-minute, mid-game break.

When they returned to action, Peng could barely move. Still, she stuck it out for six more points. After shanking a return, though, she collapsed, with both knees and both palms on the ground.