Records tumble in Serena rout but one still to fall
SERENA Williams has earned herself a fourth shot at equalling Australian Margaret Court's all-time record 24 grand slam singles crowns with a steely US Open semi-final win over Elina Svitolina.
Bidding to become the oldest major champion in tennis history, Williams advanced to her 10th final in New York with a 6-3 6-1 victory over the Ukrainian world No.5 on Thursday night (Friday AEST).
Turning 38 this month, Williams will play either 19-year-old Canadian sensation Bianca Andreescu or Swiss ace Belinda Bencic in Saturday's title match.
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Neither Andreescu, who started the year ranked 178th in the world but is guaranteed to leave New York in the top 10, nor 22-year-old Bencic has ever contested a grand slam final before.
Williams, though, is vowing not to underestimate her final foe, having already suffered the disappointment of losing all three major finals she's made since the birth of her daughter Alexis Olympia two years ago.
The American succumbed to Naomi Osaka in last year's drama-charged US Open decider, in which Williams received a game penalty deep that precipitated an extraordinary meltdown in the second set, and lost the 2018 and 2019 Wimbledon finals to Angelique Kerber and Simona Halep respectively.
There was never a hint of the six-times champion ever losing focus against Svitolina.
Williams jumped out to a 3-0 lead before taking the opening set in 41 minutes.
The match was all but over after the eighth seed secured a double break in the second set, then closed it out after one hour and 10 minutes to qualify for a record 33rd grand slam singles final.
Williams' 101st victory at Flushing Meadows also matched fellow American Chris Evert's record for most US Open match wins.
"It's impressive to be in any club with Chrissie. It's just really awesome," Williams said after belting 34 winners to Svitolina's 11 on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
In reaching the Open final three days shy of 20 years since landing her maiden major in New York in 1999, Williams also removed her younger sister Venus from a page in the history books.
The seemingly ageless champion now holds the mark for largest gap between their first and most recent grand slam final appearances - exceeding the 19 years and 12 days that Venus waited between the 1997 US final and 2017 Wimbledon climax.
"I don't think about it," Williams said.
"I just come out here and do what I can."