Serena Williams of the U.S. celebrates match point as she defeats Caroline… (Lucy Nicholson / Reuters )
Reporting from New York — Serena Williams was fiercely focused Saturday night. She walloped winners from every place on the court, and Caroline Wozniacki, the top-ranked player in the world, found out that, in tennis, defense does not win championships.
Williams, out of tennis for almost a year with a series of injuries, reached her fifth U.S. Open final Saturday night with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Wozniacki the semifinals.
The 28th-seeded Williams will play ninth-seeded Samantha Stosur on Sunday at 1 p.m. PDT in the final. Williams will be aiming for her 14th major title and fourth U.S. Open title and she has reached the final without dropping a set.
Stosur advanced to her first U.S. Open final with remarkably little notice, considering she has already played the longest tiebreaker in women's major tournament history and won the longest women's match time-wise in U.S. Open history during this same tournament.
Stosur, a 27-year-old from Australia, beat 92nd-ranked Angelique Kerber of Germany, 6-3, 2-6, 6-2, Saturday afternoon.
When Williams, 29, was leading 6-2, 1-0, she had whammed and bammed her way to 20 outright winners to none by the 21-year-old Wozniacki, whose signature style is to run down every shot and send it back. By the end, Williams had 34 winners to only five for Wozniacki.
Wozniacki couldn't run down 120-mph serves or blazing backhands that kicked off the lines. Wozniacki ran out of her three review challenges in the first set in a desperate attempt to win points on video instead of on the court.
There was a worrisome moment for Williams in the first set. During the changeover after Williams had taken a 4-1 lead with a booming forehand volley and bellowed, "Come on," she called for the trainer to tend to her big toe.
But if her foot hurt, it didn't slow Williams down. The normally good-natured Wozniacki slammed her racket to the ground in the second set after another of Williams' powerful groundstrokes buzzed by.
If Stosur is to have any advantage in her first U.S. Open final, it will be benefitting from extra rest. Williams and Wozniacki didn't start their match until 10:11 p.m. EDT.
"I feel there have been some obstacles to get through this tournament," Stosur said, "and to come through the way I have, I'm really proud of myself for that. To be in the final, getting through those tough matches, I guess that's a good thing."
Stosur's match was played on the Grandstand Court, only the third-largest of the show courts at the Billie Jean King Tennis Center. Lengthy rain delays during the week and water damage that shut down Louis Armstrong Stadium caused schedulers to put Stosur and Kerber on the smaller court and leave two men's semifinals and the Williams-Wozniacki semifinal at Arthur Ashe Stadium.