CINCINNATI, OH, USA - Serena Williams continued her recent domination of Jelena Jankovic to get within two wins of her first Western & Southern Open title - a title that has eluded her her whole career.
Williams used to have a lot of trouble against Jankovic - before her year-long injury and illness lay-off between July 2010 and June 2011, Williams had split eight career meetings against Jankovic, 4-4, including a loss at one of her most beloved Grand Slams, at the Australian Open back in 2008.
But since coming back from that year-long lay-off it has been all Williams in the pair's head-to-head, as coming into this week the American won five in a row to take it to a much more commanding 9-4.
The Turning Point
Williams made it to double digits in their head-to-head - 10-4 - with a 6-1, 6-3 victory on Friday, storming through the first set in just 25 minutes and then, after going down an early break for 2-1 in the second set, reeling off five of the next six games to close the match out in just 58 minutes.
Though she did lose her serve that one time in the third game of the second set, Williams held all seven of her other service games, and she finished particularly strong, holding her last two service games at love. She finished the match with back-to-back aces - her sixth and seventh of the day.
While the No.1-seeded Williams was a dead even 22-22 in winners to unforced errors, the No.8-seeded Jankovic's game was somewhat off in the match with five winners and 24 unforced errors.
"Obviously it was a bad day in the office," Jankovic said. "I just felt a little bit slow out there. For some reason I was really late on my shots and I did not serve well. I didn't do anything well.
"She was obviously the way better player today on the court."
"I felt pretty good," Williams said. "I felt better. I was just getting consistent. My unforced errors are lower than they've been this year, so it's definitely continuing to go in the right direction.
"I don't think she played her best today but she definitely fought well."
In her on-court interview, Williams was giving props to some fans in the stands who were cheering her on during the match. She was asked about those loyal fans in her post-match press conference.
"These guys were so amazing back there," she said. "This one guy in particular just kept grinding and telling me what a great job I was doing. He was so positive. I was like, 'I love this.'
"It felt really, really good, and he definitely deserved to know."
By The Numbers
Beyond the match stats, there's a stat Williams is hoping to put an end to this week. In her five previous appearances at the Western & Southern Open she has come away without the title, the second-most attempts she has ever made at a single WTA tournament without coming away with the title. The most is Sydney - she has played there six times before without bringing the trophy home at the end.