CINCINNATI, OH, USA - By virtue of her semifinal win over Caroline Wozniacki at the Western & Southern Open on Saturday afternoon, Serena Williams has clinched the Emirates Airline US Open Series title, and will go for a record $4 million payout at the US Open, which starts in just over a week.
Williams has always played well during the summer hardcourt season and has done it again this year, winning in Stanford, reaching the semifinals of Montréal and now another final in Cincinnati.
"It means a lot to me," Williams said. "I'm really excited. I really wanted to be there and wanted to support these tournaments. More than anything, I wanted to play matches. I just wanted to be there.
"It's just a wonderful feeling to be able to win the US Open Series. It's really cool."
Last year, Williams and Rafael Nadal created history by winning the Emirates Airline US Open Series and subsequently the US Open to collect the biggest paycheque in the history of tennis, $3.6 million.
This year, Williams and the men's winner will be going for a record $4 million payout at the US Open - $3 million for the US Open plus a $1 million bonus for the Emirates Airline US Open Series title.
What are Williams' expectations for the US Open?
"Obviously to win it would be great, but we'll see," she said. "I'll do the best I can regardless."
Williams has won the US Open five times, in 1999, 2002, 2008 and the last two years in 2012 and 2013 - it's the only Grand Slam she has won twice since her year-long injury and illness lay-off.
Additionally, Williams was already the only woman to win the Emirates Airline US Open Series twice when she won it in 2011 and 2013, and now she's won it three times by clinching the 2014 title.
The second and third place finishers have yet to be determined.