NEW YORK — Serena Williams hit 11 aces late Saturday night at the U.S. Open in a 6-2, 6-4 win over top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki that left Williams one win away from her 14th Grand Slam title.
This was Williams' first appearance in the Open semifinals since 2009, when a foot-fault call led to a tirade against the referee that cost her match point against Kim Clijsters.
Williams never came close to being pushed in this one. She finished with 34 winners, and early in the second set she led Wozniacki 20-0 in that category.
Williams, who has missed most of the past year with physical problems, tries for her fourth Open title today against No. 9 Samantha Stosur, who beat 92nd-ranked Angelique Kerber 6-3, 2-6, 6-2. Stosur, a Tampa resident, is the first Australian woman in the Open final since Wendy Turnbull in 1984, the year Stosur was born.
The 2010 French Open runnerup, Stosur had two record-setting three-set wins earlier in the tournament, so this 1-hour, 46-minute match seemed like a breeze in comparison.
Kerber had never been past Round 3 of a major before. The German hasn't beaten a top 10 opponent; she hadn't faced anyone ranked better than No. 13 in her Open run. "It was too fast the first few (semi) games," she said. "It was everything new for me. So many people and the lights."
Stosur needed 3 hours, 16 minutes to win in the third round against Nadia Petrova 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (5-7), 7-5, the longest women's match at the Open since the advent of the tiebreaker in 1970. Two days later she was part of the longest tiebreaker in a women's Grand Slam, beating Maria Kirilenko 6-2, 6-7 (15-17), 6-3.
Her semifinal wasn't on the main court, Arthur Ashe Stadium, because two days of rain delays last week meant four singles matches were played Saturday instead of the normal three.
Dan Zausner, managing director of the National Tennis Center, said officials couldn't take a chance that the day session of men's semis, starting at noon at Arthur Ashe, would run into a night session of women's semis and create a scenario where the last women's match would start after 10 p.m., with their final this afternoon. So one of the women's semis had to be moved, he said.
And it had to be moved to the Grandstand because of water on the court at the second-largest venue, Louis Armstrong Stadium.
It was wrong, Stosur said, to move her semi, but she got the last laugh. The Williams-Wozniacki match didn't start until after 10 anyway. "I will be back in my hotel while they're still playing, which is a good thing," she said.
Women's doubles: Former Gator Lisa Raymond and Liezel Huber play for the title today after beating Daniela Hantuchova and Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2, 6-4. They face Vania King and Yaroslava Shvedova (1 p.m., ESPN).