Serena Cruises In SFs, World No.1 Up Next
Published September 07, 2012 12:00
NEW YORK, NY, USA - Serena Williams clearly brings out her best when it comes to the business end of Grand Slams, and in the semifinals of the US Open on Friday she clearly meant business. The 14-time Grand Slam winner is a win from her 15th Grand Slam after a 61 62 semifinal win over Sara Errani.
Williams came out swinging, filling up the stats sheet with her huge serves and groundstrokes, and unfortunately for Errani way more of them hit their mark than missed. Williams fired a whopping 38 winners to 21 unforced errors, a +17 differential that far outdid Errani's -3 (six winners to nine unforced). In the end the No.4-seeded Williams finished the No.10-seeded Errani off with her ninth ace.
"The way she wants to win, and when she plays like this, I think she's the best player in the world," Errani said. "I believed I could do it before the match and I tried everything I could - first set I tried to be more defensive and play more high balls, but that was not so good, so I changed and tried to be more aggressive.
"I lost 1 and 2. It was very difficult. She's a great player."
Errani, who was the first Italian woman in the Open Era to reach the semifinals of a Grand Slam outside of Roland Garros but fell to 0-20 in her career against Top 5 players, was asked whether Victoria Azarenka had a shot to win.
"Azarenka is a strong player, but Serena is another level," Errani said.
Even the often self-critical Williams was happy with her play. "I definitely played better today, better than my other matches," she said. "Playing against someone like her, you have to go better. She played really well and is such a good hope for Italy. She's such a good fighter. She has improved so much."
Williams lost last year's US Open final in straight sets to Sam Stosur, but the circumstances are a lot different this year - partly because her semifinal match didn't go until after midnight the day before, partly because of something else.
"Last year I didn't get to bed until after 4 o'clock, and then I had to come back and play again. It went pretty fast. This year I have more experience.
"But also, last year I honestly thought getting to the final was awesome after being in the hospital five months prior. For me that was unbelievable. It's probably the only Grand Slam final loss I wasn't super disappointed about - I was disappointed, but not as down as I would have normally been.
"This year I'm more confident, playing more matches and winning."
Williams also has a lot of numbers on her side going into this one: 14-4 in Grand Slam finals, 13 in a row against Top 5 players (all but one of those in straight sets) and four in a row against World No.1s, a stretch that dates back for five years (by lopsided scorelines, too - 62 60, 62 64, 61 63 and 61 62).
There's also Williams' 9-1 head-to-head record against Azarenka.
"I want to hold that trophy and lift it up, but I have to stay focused on the task at hand and play the current No.1 player in the world," Williams said. "I always believe I'm the best, but on paper she's been more consistent, going much deeper in the Slams than I have been. I definitely have to do the best I can."
Azarenka talked about Williams in her presser earlier in the day.
"She's definitely the toughest opponent there is in the draw, and being in the final makes it even more difficult," Azarenka said. "If you look at our record it says it all. I haven't won in any of our last meetings, so I need to find something to surprise her with tomorrow. She's in great form and feeling really confident."