London Olympic Games 2012

Friday, September 7, 2012

Serena Williams Easily Reaches US Open Final

US Open Tennis.JPEG
Serena Williams Easily Reaches US Open Final

The latest woman to absorb a lopsided loss against Serena Williams thinks the 14-time Grand Slam champion should take on a new challenge.

"Given that men are always quick to say women are a lot worse ... I'd love to see her play in a (lower-level) men's tournament and see how they deal with her. It's easy to talk. On the court, it would be different," the 10th-seeded Sara Errani said.

"I've practiced with a lot of guys ranked 400th or 500th," Errani explained. "I've never played with a man who hits as hard as she does."

Williams wasted little time or energy while overwhelming Italy's Errani 6-1, 6-2 on Friday night to reach the final and move one victory away from a fourth U.S. Open championship. With a 38-6 edge in winners and nine aces to raise her tournament-leading total to 50, Williams needed only 64 minutes to dismiss Errani, the runner-up at the French Open.

Not only has Williams won every set she's played, she's dropped a total of only 19 games across six matches.

Indeed, Errani found some satisfaction in forcing Williams to stay on court for more than an hour.

"My objective," Errani said, "was to prolong the match as much as possible."

In Saturday night's final, the fourth-seeded Williams will face top-ranked Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, who beat Maria Sharapova in three sets earlier Friday. Williams is 9-1 against Azarenka.

"Obviously, Victoria wants to win, too," Williams told the crowd in Arthur Ashe Stadium. "But I'm American, guys. Last one standing. Go USA!"

It was 12 months ago that Williams was stunned in straight sets in the U.S. Open final by Sam Stosur of Australia. Facing a break point at the start of the second set, Williams pounded a forehand she celebrated with her familiar yell of "Come on!" But she screamed as Stosur was reaching to return the shot. The chair umpire awarded the point to Stosur, setting Williams off on a series of insults directed at the official, including, "You're just unattractive inside."

In the 2009 semifinals in New York, Williams launched into her infamous foot-fault tirade and was docked a point on match point, ending a loss to Kim Clijsters.

When a reporter mentioned to Williams, who won the U.S. Open in 1999, 2002 and 2008, that nothing of that sort has happened this year, she replied: "Hey, it's not done yet."

"Well, I did grunt once today, and I thought, 'God, I hope I don't lose the point," Williams said. "Like I said, my goal this year was not to get in any fights."

Everything has gone so smoothly these two weeks.

It's part of a stretch of dominance that has carried her to a 25-1 record since a shocking first-round exit at the French Open in late May, the only time in 49 Grand Slam appearances that Williams lost her opening match.

Her recent surge includes titles at Wimbledon and the London Olympics.

"It's really awesome," Williams said in an on-court interview. "That is what I wanted, and what I dreamed of, all year."

In many ways, her semifinal was a complete mismatch.

Errani had never been past the third round at the U.S. Open — and never past the fourth round at any major tournament — until this year. She reached the quarterfinals at the Australian Open in January, then made it all the way to the final at the French Open, losing there to Sharapova.

So Friday's match was only her second major semifinal, Williams' 22nd, and that disparity showed right from the outset.
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US Open 2012: Serena Williams vs Sara Errani – as it happened

US Open 2012: Serena Williams vs Sara Errani – as it happened


Serena Williams has beaten Sara Errani 6-1, 6-2 in the second women's semi-final at the 2012 US Open, and that about sums up what you need to know from a match that should have been prefixed by the very definition of 'mis'. Errani is the world No10, which is fair enough, but Serena Williams is the No4 and that seems a tad odd, all told. You'd have to back her to beat Victoria Azarenka in tomorrow, Saturday night's final.

Remains only to a) put out an all-boffins call for an explanation of the rankings system and b) ponder how to play myself out.

Well, there's only one way, isn't there?

Will be back – with Sir Roger, possibly, whether beating up muppets while singing at them or not – tomorrow.

Serena Williams wins 6-1, 6-2

Second set: Williams 6-2 Errani* (*denotes next server) Williams wins 6-1, 6-2

Serena to serve for the match, which one rather expects she will win in something rather like short order.

Errani challenges a call on the first point, and loses the challenge as her return was indeed out. Serena dominates the next point, behind a heavy serve, for 30-0. Williams has won 21-9 on unforced errors, but this is triple match point time.

Match point #1: not an ace, though it looked like one. A second serve ace follows, though, and in an hour and four minutes that's that and Serena Williams will face Victoria Azarenka tomorrow – Saturday – night.

Second set: Williams* 5-2 Errani (*denotes next server) Williams leads 6-1, 5-2

Errani to stay in it, then... Serena tries a ludicrously optimistic drop shot from the baseline and doesn't make it, so it's 15-0, and it's 30-0 as a return of serve goes long. An Errani error follows, though - under no pressure whatsoever - and another on a sliced backhand to the baseline. Some form of game plan there... not that it worked.

At 30-all, Serena plays a fine double-handed backhand down the lines and it is, inevitably, match point.

Match point #1: Serena hits the net with her service return, and then misses an aggressive attempted winner down the line. Serena tries a drop shot, seems to amble after it and Errani gets to it to play the winner and take the game.

Second set: Williams 5-1 Errani* (*denotes next server) Williams leads 6-1, 5-1

Serena to serve, needing only two games to get this semi-final over and done with. Massive first serve for 15-0, although Errani got a touch on it to stop Serena taking four aces in a row.

A rather feathered, placed ace makes it 30-15, though, and a bad error on the forehand for Errani makes it 40-15. Ace does it.

Second set: Williams* 4-1 Errani (*denotes next server) Williams leads 6-1, 4-1

Marvellous winner from Serena when Errani makes a rare appearance at the net, a forehand too hard and too low for the Italian to cope. The next point is bossed by Serena for 0-30 and the one after that... brings a bad error from Serena at the net. Double-handed backhand to open court and she duffed it. Hey-ho.

And another error, double-handed forehand into the net this time, makes it 30-all. Williams' errors are keeping Errani vaguely alive, but break point then arrives with a fierce backhand at the net and a very loud scream indeed.

Can one be "vaguely alive"? Surely one is alive or one, well, isn't.

As if to illustrate the point, Errani loses break point on the rally, finding the net yet again, and thus, to all intents and purposes, now isn't alive in this match.

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