Serena Williams overwhelmed 17th-seeded Ekaterina Makarova of Russia 6-1, 6-3 in the semifinals Friday in New York to extend her U.S. Open winning streak to 20 matches.
If Williams can make that 21 in a row by beating Caroline Wozniacki in Sunday’s final, the 32-year-old American will become the first woman since Chris Evert in the 1970s to win three consecutive titles at the tournament.
After Makarova held to 1-all, she went 40 minutes until taking another game. Powered by swift serves and stinging forehands, Williams grabbed nine straight games, including a truly dominant stretch in which she took 22 of 24 points.
Williams is seeking a sixth U.S. Open championship and 18th major singles title overall, which would tie her with Evert and Martina Navratilova.
“She obviously wants to win and go for her first Grand Slam,” Williams said about her close friend Wozniacki. “I want to win a Grand Slam for some history.”
This Grand Slam season has been rather poor by Williams’ lofty standards, though: She lost in the fourth round at the Australian Open, the second round at the French Open, and the third round at Wimbledon.
“It feels so good. You never know. I am so happy — you have no idea,” Williams said in an on-court interview. “I didn’t think I’d be here today.”
But over the past two weeks in New York, Williams has looked very much like a woman who is ranked and seeded No. 1, winning all 12 sets she has played. It might have helped that, because of a series of surprises, she faced only one seeded opponent until Friday, eliminating No. 11 Flavia Pennetta in the quarterfinals.
Makarova defeated No. 7 Eugenie Bouchard — the runner-up at Wimbledon in July — and No. 16 Victoria Azarenka — a two-time Australian Open champion and a finalist at the U.S. Open in 2012 and 2013 — to reach her first major semifinal in her 29th try. A terrific run, to be sure, but the lanky left-hander never stood a chance against Williams.
The whole thing lasted only an hour, and with her older sister Venus sitting in the stands, Williams compiled a 24-6 edge in winners.
Shuai exits, Wozniacki reaches final
Caroline Wozniacki won her U.S. Open semifinal when Peng Shuai retired because of apparent heat illness.
Wozniacki was up a set and a break on an extremely humid afternoon when Peng stumbled to the wall behind the baseline with what seemed to be severe cramping in her legs.
She was helped off the court and after a 10-minute delay returned to try to keep playing.
Six points later, Peng collapsed to her knees. Wozniacki walked to the other side of the court to pat her on the back before the decision was made that Peng couldn’t continue.
Wozniacki watched through tears as Peng was taken off in a wheelchair.
This is Wozniacki’s first major final since the 2009 U.S. Open, when she lost to Kim Clijsters.
Mirza, Soares win mixed doubles
Top-seeded Sania Mirza of India and Bruno Soares of Brazil won the U.S. Open mixed doubles title, beating American Abigail Spears and Mexico’s Santiago Gonzalez 6-1, 2-6, 11-9.
Mirza and Soares had each been successful mixed doubles players, so Mirza said during the trophy presentation that she wasn’t sure why it took them this long to pair up.
Mirza has now won three Grand Slam mixed doubles titles. Soares was the 2012 U.S. Open champion with Ekaterina Makarova. Soares joked that clearly this means Mirza will reach the singles semis in Flushing Meadows in two years.
In the super tiebreak, Mirza and Soares went ahead 9-4 before Spears and Gonzalez won five straight points. They clinched victory on their sixth championship point.
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