*Flushing, NY – Once again, Serena Williams has advanced to her fourth Grand Slam final (‘18 US Open, ‘18, ‘19 Wimbledon) since becoming a mother. She efficiently took out Ukrainian Elina Svitolina, 6-3, 6-1, in a Thursday night semi to earn her spot in Saturday’s final.
Last year’s US Open final (‘18) ended catastrophically, with both Serena Williams and first-time champion, Naomi Osaka, in tears. Osaka’s tears were a result of the boos and jeers heard around Arthur Ashe stadium during the trophy presentation due to the sentiment that Serena was unfairly cheated out of points and ultimately a whole game because of sexism (penalized for coaching and tantrum behavior). And Serena’s tears were a result of the latter. The then-36-year-old drew from her motherly instinct and calmed the crowd and consoled Osaka, also later sending her a note of apology, but the damage had been done.
Serena’s kerfuffle with the chair umpire, Carlos Ramos, and how it impacted Naomi’s maiden Slam win marred the occasion and made it largely one to forget for all parties involved. But, while defending champion Naomi was dumped out of the tournament in the round of 16, Serena will get her do over this year:
“Yeah, I think it’s cool that I’ve been in more finals than I think anyone on tour after being pregnant,” she said. “I think that’s kind of awesome.”
The win over Svitolina was US Open win number 101 for the 6-time champion, matching the record of Chrissy Evert:
“It’s pretty cool,” she said of the record tie. “I didn’t know that was even an option. That always makes it even more special when you hear those super cool things without even knowing.”
If the now-37-year-old prevails over her teen-aged opponent, Canada’s Bianca Andreescu, she will finally reach her GOAT, … er, goal of matching the record of the late Margaret Court who holds 24 (non-Open-era) Grand Slam titles. It won’t be easy, however, as Andreescu is playing determined tennis and just won a title coming into the US Open (Toronto) after Serena retired from their final match with back spasms:
“She really knows how to mix up the game and play different shots in different ways,” she said of her brief experience with Andreescu. “Above all, I just like her as a person. She’s amazing.”
Both Serena Williams and Bianca Andreescu have made a comprehensive run up to this final step of fighting for the title. Serena’s wins have been a tad more decisive, but lights out, power tennis is likely on tap as the vie to walk away with the big prize, including a 3.5 million dollar check.
May the best woman win.
Catch the battle on Saturday at 4pm EST.