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Serena Williams has another shot at winning a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles title after demolishing Elina Svitolina to reach the US Open final.

The American, 37, overpowered the Ukrainian fifth seed to win 6-3 6-1.

Williams, seeded eighth, is aiming for her first Grand Slam win since giving birth in September 2017.

The six-time champion will face Canadian 19-year-old Bianca Andreescu in Saturday’s final in New York.

In a gripping encounter, Andreescu defeated 22-year-old Swiss Belinda Bencic 7-6 (7-3) 7-5, winning the last five games of the match.

Andreescu was born nine months after Williams won her first US Open title in 1999.

Williams underlines why she is favourite for victory

Williams is already considered by many as the greatest female player ever, yet will not be satisfied herself until she has levelled – and then overtaken – Australian Margaret Court’s total of all-time Grand Slam singles titles.

Following the difficult birth of daughter Olympia two years ago which almost cost Williams her life, she has reached consecutive Wimbledon finals – plus last year’s controversial US Open showpiece against Naomi Osaka – without capping what has already been a remarkable comeback with another major win.

For Williams to not go on and win a seventh US Open title – an Open era record in the women’s singles – would be a major shock on the evidence of her performances over the past two weeks.

Free of the knee injury which bothered her earlier this year, she is looking as sharp, powerful and clinical as she has in a long time.

That was illustrated by the ease with which she swatted aside Svitolina, the highest ranked player to reach the last eight at Flushing Meadows and competing in her second successive Grand Slam semi-final.

The 24-year-old Ukrainian has one of the most impenetrable returning games on the WTA Tour, yet even she could not keep Williams at bay.

After a slow start where Svitolina could conceivably have led 2-0, it was the American who broke at the first attempt and from that point it was all one-way traffic.

Williams found her range quickly and dominated with her powerful, precise hitting which resulted in 33 winners in a match which lasted only one hour and 10 minutes.

“The first two games were long games and I know how she can play – she is a good player,” Williams said.

“I wanted to not get off to a slow start and I wanted to hang in there.”

Svitolina rues missed opportunities

Svitolina was expected to provide a tougher test for Williams after clinically dispatching British number one Johanna Konta in their quarter-final on Wednesday.

With her fleet of foot and ability to return, she would have been hoping to withstand everything fired by Williams and then outlast her older opponent….Continue Reading

By Ian Dei

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