STANFORD, CA, USA - Not too long after winning a nail-biter against Ana Ivanovic in the quarterfinals on Friday night, Serena Williams went right back to winning on Saturday afternoon, showing some vintage form to dispatch Andrea Petkovic in the semifinals of the Bank Of The West Classic.
The No.1-seeded Williams rallied from a first set blowout on Friday night to cool off the No.5-seeded Ivanovic, and just 16 hours later she had to take the court again against the No.8-seeded Petkovic.
And early on it looked like maybe she was suffering the effects of the quick turnaround - she wasn't able to break through on the Petkovic serve, neither player losing serve through the first 11 games. And serving at 5-6, Petkovic dug out of a 0-40 hole and got to game point to go to a tie-break.
But that's when Williams pounced, winning three straight points to close out the set, 7-5, then storming through the second set at love, wrapping up a 7-5, 6-0 victory in just an hour and 17 minutes.
"I'm really excited," Williams said. "Andrea and I both had really long matches yesterday, so I was just hoping to come out again today with fresh legs, and just try to do the best I could out there.
"My body feels great. I'm just really excited to be in the finals of Stanford again."
Williams put together a +9 differential of winners to unforced errors - 24 to 15 - and fought off the only break point she faced in the match. She held all nine of her service games in the match.
And she thanked a few people in particular for cheering her on.
"I hear the fans - I hear all the come on Serenas - it really shows the love, and I really appreciate it," the World No.1, who has won 12 straight matches here, commented. "I just love playing here."
Awaiting Williams in the final is No.3 seed Angelique Kerber, who pulled off a Houdini-like escape against Varvara Lepchenko in the second semifinal in the night session, rallying from 6-4, 5-2 down - and fighting off a match point down 6-4, 5-4 - to win in two hours and 39 minutes, 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-2.
An elated Kerber was interviewed on court after the grueling three set victory.
"I have no idea how I did it," she said. "I was just trying to fight until the last point and believe in me, and just try to change my game in the middle of the match, but I have no idea how I won."
Williams leads Kerber in their head-to-head, 4-1. Kerber's win did come around this time of year, at Cincinnati two years ago, but Williams has won all three meetings since handily in straight sets.