Serena, Azarenka rematch in US Open final

Indo Asian News Service

New York, Sep 7 (IANS) World No.1 Serena Williams of the United States booked a rematch against World No.2 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus after winning her semifinal against Li Na of China 6-0, 6-3 in the US Open at Flushing Meadows here.

Li Na missed the chance of a second Grand Slam show after reaching the final of the Australian Open earlier this season. The 31-year-old had reached at least quarterfinals in three of the four Grand Slams in 2013, reports Xinhua.

"I have had a more stable season this year. No matter if I win or lose, I always want to improve. I hope next season I can do better," said Li Friday.

The first set was totally under the dominance of Williams. The winner of 16 Grand Slams converted all three break points to beat Li 6-0, another clean sweep after she overwhelmed Spaniard Suarez Navarron 6-0, 6-0 in the quarterfinal.

"I was a little nervous but I was able to close it out," said Williams.

Li tried hard to recover from the second set, holding her serve in the second game to win her first game in the match. She then broke Williams' service game to get 2-1 lead. However, Li failed to extend the lead to 3-1 when she was 40-0 up in the fourth game. Williams managed to accomplish another break to level the score to 2-all.

The World No.1 was difficult to play when she got her rhythm, taking down three straight games to take a 5-2 lead. The Chinese saved as many as six matchpoints in the eighth game of the second set but Williams served out the match 6-3 in the ninth.

Last four placing was the best record for Li at US Open.

Williams managed to win her six US Open matches with 12 sets in which she only lost 16 games. She had a 24-game winning streak starting from the second set in her victory over Sloane Stephens until the 1-0 second set lead over Li. She was trying to become the first female single player to win the US Open without dropping a set since 2008, where Williams herself accomplished the task.

Williams will face Azarenka, the same opponent in last year's final, to fight for her 17th Grand Slam title Sunday.

The second seed Azarenka beat unseeded Italian veteran Flavia Penneta 6-4, 6-2.

It was the second straight time for the 24-year-old Belarusian to reach the US Open final after the runners-up show last year. It was also her first victory against Pennetta since 2010.

Azarenka broke Pennetta in the first game only to see Pennetta break back in the second. Azarenka had a chance to serve out the first set at 5-4. The second seed wasted five set points but still took the sixth to finish the first set 6-4.

The second set almost went along the same route. Azarenka accomplished a break again in the first game and Pennetta broke back. However, Pennetta failed to keep her second service game allowing Azarenka a 3-1 lead. The winner of the Australian Open won three of the following four games to end the match 6-2.