Serena Williams blasts her way through Elina Svitolina to US Open final
Serena Williams is back in the US Open final for another crack at equalling the all-time grand slam record.
The 37-year-old American steamrollered Elina Svitolina 6-3 6-1 on Arthur Ashe to reach her fourth major final since becoming a mother two years ago.
She lost the previous three, including that acrimonious match with Naomi Osaka here last year, as well as two Wimbledon finals, meaning she remains tantalisingly one short of Margaret Court’s record tally of 24 grand slams.
On this form and in this mood – and barring another 2018-style meltdown – she does not look like falling short again.
Svitolina had boyfriend Gael Monfils firing down serves at her on the practice court beforehand to prepare for the power of Williams, and had a clear game plan to move the American around the court.
But Williams crashed 34 winners past the Ukrainian fifth seed, who beat Britain’s Johanna Konta in the quarter-finals.
Svitolina forced three break points in the opening game, before Williams held.
She then faced six deuces on her own serve as the six-time champion made the breakthrough.
It was a high-level start from both players. The spectators waiting for the first changeover to take their seats were still stood in the concourse after 20 minutes.
Svitolina should have been 2-0 up, but before she knew it she was 3-0 down.
Williams then held from 0-40 to move 4-1 up, aided by a stunning airbourne backhand volley.
The pressure on Svitolina’s serve was unrelenting, and the first set was wrapped up in 41 minutes.
A second Williams break arrived at 1-1, the veteran outlasting 24-year-old Svitolina in a 14-shot rally. She repeated the dose in the fifth, even surprising herself with a stunning get at the net to bring up three more break points.
She needed just the one, and then ran away with the match, a backhand winner putting Svitolina out of her misery after just 70 minutes.
“The first games were long games,” said Williams. “I know how she can play, she’s such a good player.
“I just wanted to not get off to a slow start and just tried to hang in there.
“This is the biggest stadium for tennis on the whole planet. If you think about it that way it’s such an honour for me and my opponent to play here.
“I enjoy the opportunity to come out here and do my best.”