Top seed and two-time defending champion Serena Williams needed only 60 minutes to handle No. 17 seed Ekaterina Makarova in Friday’s second semifinal showdown. With a chance for a rare Grand Slam three-peat on the line, the American stepped up to dominate the contest from start to finish with a 6-1, 6-3 victory to return to the US Open final once again.
“I think I played pretty well today,” Williams said. “I was able to change up my game and just keep moving forward and just keep doing what I could do today. I'm just really excited to be in the final. In the beginning of the week I definitely wasn't sure I would make it this long. So I'm just elated, to be honest, to have made it this far.”
Williams was in fine form the entire match, striking precise and sharp-angled winners that left Makarova scrambling and wondering what more she could do to challenge the world No. 1. Playing in her first Grand Slam semifinal, the Russian was perhaps overcome by the moment as well as Williams’ power, as she struck only six winners to Williams’ 24, and had only one break point on the match.
“Today she was so aggressive - I don't know,” Makarova said of her opponent. “Maybe I didn't think that she will be that aggressive. Like she's just coming, you know, so early, so sometimes I was too late because she was too fast.”
Yet credit to Makarova, who fought to the very end and stayed in the match near the end of the second set. Her lone break of serve at 5-3 could not be consolidated, and Williams fell to her knees in celebration when a Makarova shot sailed long to end the match.
When she returns to Arthur Ashe Stadium on Sunday, Williams will find good friend Caroline Wozniacki across the net as she battles for the Tiffany & Co. trophy and a chance to make history.