Serena Williams has another shot at winning her first Grand Slam title since giving birth after defeating Anastasija Sevastova in 66 minutes in their US Open semi-final.
Williams, beaten by Angelique Kerber in the Wimbledon final in July, won 6-3 6-0 against Latvian 19th seed Sevastova.
The 36-year-old American will play Japan’s Naomi Osaka in Saturday’s final after the 20th seed beat Madison Keys.
Victory will equal Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles.
“It is really incredible. A year ago I was literally fighting for my life at the hospital after having the baby,” said Williams, who missed last year’s US Open because of the birth of her child, Olympia.
“Every day I step out on this court I am so grateful to have an opportunity to play this sport.
“So no matter what happens in any match, I already feel like I have already won.”
Serena in stats
- The American will compete in her 31st Grand Slam final and ninth US Open final.
- Having lost her past two semi-finals at Flushing Meadows, Williams will make her first appearance in the final since beating Caroline Wozniacki in 2014.
- The 17th seed has won the US Open a record-equalling six times – the same amount as compatriot Chris Evert.
Williams will be the third oldest women’s Grand Slam finalist in the Open era and, if she wins, the oldest champion, overtaking her own record set at the 2017 Australian Open. Williams was out of the game for over a year after announcing her pregnancy in April 2017 and then giving birth last September.
Now, she is back playing at her home Grand Slam and looking close to her very best.
A dominant win over older sister Venus laid down a significant marker in the third round, before a straight-set win over Czech eighth seed Karolina Pliskova in the quarter-finals showed she was able to compete with the world’s best players once again.
That meant she came into her semi-final as the favourite against a player who had never before reached a Grand Slam semi-final.
But the ease with which she ran away with the match – winning 11 of the final 12 games and losing just 12 points in the second set – was startling.
“This is just the beginning. I’m only a few months in and really looking forward to the rest of the year and next year,” Williams said.
“I just feel like there’s a lot of growth still to go in my game. That’s actually the most exciting part.
“Even though I’m not a spring chicken, I still have a very, very bright future.”