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US Open 2013 Day 12: Serena smashes way to 21st major final

Serena Williams at the US Open 2013
by Alexandra Willis at Flushing Meadows
Saturday 7 September 2013

Wimbledon.com's highlights from the twelfth day of play at the 2013 US Open in Flushing Meadows, New York...

Merciless dominance

Serena Williams reached her 21st Grand Slam final with a ruthless 6-0, 6-3 beating of Li Na, the fifth seed, proving that she remains as determined as ever to add to her Grand Slam haul of 16 major singles titles. With Serena so dominant on serve, aside from one brief break wobble, the most intriguing part of the match was when Li was serving to stay in it, a 13 minute game in which Li saved six match points. But Serena served it out a game later, unleashing a double 'come on' when she reached match point. She wants this title. 

It means that Serena reaches Sunday's women's final having lost just 16 games to reach that stage, the fewest at a Grand Slam since Mary Pierce lost 10 en route to the French Open final in 1994. She will also contest the first repeat final since she and Venus played back to back US Open finals in 2001 and 2002.

Li meanwhile, who had been playing excellent tennis before this match, said that her nerves just took over.

"I mean, should not be like nervous because not first time to play semis.  But when I walk to the court I was feeling the court so big.  I mean, even my side, you know, I was feeling like football court," she said.

Repeating history
Victoria Azarenka may not be at her fittest, a suggestion that she is still not entirely recovered from the injury she sustained at Wimbledon, but she is driven by a ferocious iron will that was on full display during a 6-4, 6-2 win over Flavia Pennetta to reach her second straight US Open singles final.  It was not a great display of winners from the world No.2, hitting just 15 to Pennetta's 19, and a not-desirable 18 unforced errors in the first set. Add to that, that neither player served particularly well. But Azarenka made the difference on the big points, breaking serve eight times, and doing just enough to get through.

"Overall, just being able to pick up and raise the level in the important moments, that's what, you know, it's all about, to be able to do that," Azarenka said.

Forza Flavia
It was not Flavia Pennetta's best day on a tennis court, her first serve percentage letting her down, but she will no doubt be heartened by the fact that, as the world No.83, she achieved a new career-high at getting to a first Grand Slam semi-final.

"It's everything positive," Pennetta said.  "I mean, I'm really happy about the tournament, about how I played, the match I won, everything. Today I lost, but I lost with the No. 2 in the world.  I tried my best.  I think I fight really well and the match was nice to see and everything.  I try until the last point."

Not an upset in seeding terms...
...precisely because they weren't seeded, as the Williams sisters were knocked out at the end of the evening on Friday. But, that said, love or loathe them, their ability to pick up where they left off, compete, and almost win titles is remarkable.  

The mixed doubles was claimed by Max Mirnyi and Andrea Hlavackova, who triumphed over Abigail Spears and Santiago Gonzalez 7-6, 6-3. It was the Czech player's first mixed doubles Slam, and a third US Open mixed title for Mirnyi.

Stat of the day

Straight games won by Serena Williams, from 1-1 in the second set of her fourth round against Sloane Stephens, to 1-1 in the second set of her semi-final against Li Na.

In case you missed it

The staff at the US Open store sang Carla Suarez Navarro a Happy Birthday.

Coming up tomorrow


12pm - Men's singles semi-finals
Novak Djokovic [1] v Stanislas Wawrinka [9]

NB 2.50pm - Men's singles semi-finals
Rafael Nadal [2] v Richard Gasquet [8]

NB 3.30pm - Women's doubles final
Ashleigh Barty & Casey Dellacqua [8] v Andrea Hlavackova & Lucie Hradecka [5]


For all the reports and results from Flushing Meadows, visit the Official US Open website

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