New York – With yet another US Open finale before the eyes and title of Grand Slam No. 24 in range, Serena Williams went through a slightly shaky start and quickly took control.
Williams turned into an increasingly impressive performance for the 6-3, 6-1 win over No. 5-seed Elina Svitolina of Ukraine in their semifinal at Arthur Ash Stadium on Thursday night.
This will be Williams' fourth final in the last six major tournaments. She has been Wimbledon's runner-up for the past two years, losing to Angelica Kerber in 2018 and Simona Halep in July. And she was also a runner up, of course, a year ago at Flushing Meadows, lost to Naomi Osaka.
This finale was and will forever be overshadowed by Williams' extended dispute with Referee President Carlos Ramos, who joined her point, and then the game ̵
So much of what Williams is doing these days has to be seen through the prism of tennis history, and it certainly was this time. Her 101st Flushing Meadows career win tied Chris Evert's tournament.
"I suppose it's impressive," Williams said. "I don't think about that. I just go out here and do what I can. "
Coming to the finals, Williams set the record for the longest difference between the first Grand Slam title match of her career and the latest such appearance: It's almost exactly 20 full years since she won the US team in 1999.
Most importantly, if she can beat No. 13 Belinda Bencic or No. 15 Bianca Andreescu in Saturday's finals, Williams will equate Margaret Court with 24 Grand Slam singles titles, the most in history However, Court won more than half of hers against amateur competition, before the profession available to play in specialties since 1968.
It was Williams' 38th semifinal, which made it so far for the tenth consecutive Flushing Meadows appearance, and only the second time in the Major Four's final four for 24
However, from the beginning, Svitolina was more stable, earning three break points in the opening game but failed to convert one. In the second game, Svitolina went ahead 40-love – but somehow it fell apart.
Overall, Svitolina holds eight game points through this opening pair and has nothing left to show. He quickly went 3-0 for Williams.
Biggest Final Appearances – Women's Tennis History
|Serina Williams||33  Martina Navratilova|
If it wasn't as bad a performance as she presented in a 6-1, 6-1 win over Maria Sharapova in the first round or a 6-1, 6- 0 over Van Qiang in the quarterfinals was quite a pick.
It starts service at 119 mph and saves all six rest points it faces. She turned down three return winners in just one game. It takes advantage of some of the best ground strokes you will see at angles that would value a shark in the pool, in the tone of the 34-11 winners. She sprints this way and that, showing no trace of any lingering ankle sprain earlier in the tournament.
As a good measure, Williams even threw a service-and-will approach as he rose to a break point at 3-1 in the first set – and, of course, he did, thanks to the swirling path.
"Don't expect this again," Williams says, joking that it goes through her mind: "What am I doing on the net ?! Let's get back to the baseline! "
Maybe Svitolina, whose upset Williams in five previous meetings came to the Rio Olympics in 2016, was just too passive, pleased to say back and try to chase everything her way.
Not the right approach – at least not against this opponent, this game, on this day.
Williams is by no means perfect. has not been in the three most important games since her return.
She will make another shot on Saturday. hin 24.