There was nothing perfect about Serena Williams’s start in the U.S. Open semifinal, after facing three breaking points in the initials of the game, Serena somehow managed to pull it out. She scored 40-love in the second round and came through again. Another trio of a breakpoint arrived later in that initial set.
Serena was on her way to yet another final at Flushing Meadows and launched another shot at Grand Slam singles trophy No. 24. Her increasingly impressive performance, when she turned a 6-3, 6-1 victory over No. 5-seeded Elina Svitolina of Ukraine at Arthur Ashe Stadium, reaching her fourth final in the past six major tournaments, on Thursday night.
“To be in yet another final, it seems, honestly, crazy, But I don’t really expect too much less,” said Williams, a six-time U.S. Open champion, who will soon be facing 19-year-old Bianca Andreescu of Canada on Saturday.
“You are playing in front of the best tennis player in the world”: Elina Svitolina
“That’s why she is who she is. You are playing in front of the best tennis player in the world,” Svitolina said. “If you don’t take it, she just grabs it. And there’s no chance to take it back.”
Serena made it to the runner-up's position at Wimbledon twice, soon after returning to the tour last season after more than a year away while having a baby and was also the runner-up, of course, a year ago at the U.S. Open, losing to Naomi Osaka.
After getting into the finals, Williams has set her mark for the longest gap between first career Grand Slam title match and most recent such appearance: which is exactly 20 full years since she won the 1999 U.S. Open as a teenager. If she manages to beat Andreescu, she will equal Margaret Court with 24 Grand Slam singles titles, more than anyone else in a sport that dates to the 1800s.
“I watched her win most of her Grand Slam titles. I think she’s fighting for her 24th on Saturday. I’m sure she’s going to bring her ‘A’ game,” Andreescu said. “I’m going to try to bring my ‘A’ game, too. Hopefully, I guess, may the best player win.”
Williams’s 38th birthday approaches in three weeks, it just wasn’t in the three most significant matches of her return so far: three Grand Slam finals, three losses. She’ll be going for it again on Saturday. “Obviously, there’s a lot of things that I’ve learned in the past,” Williams said, “but I just have to go out there (and), above all, most of all, just stay relaxed.”