There were a lot of nerves on display in today’s women’s semifinals…and Serena Williams played, too.
Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams got through their semifinal matches today to set up the anticipated (and generally hoped-for) final, a rematch of last year’s, in which Williams prevailed.
Azarenka played the Italian veteran Flavia Pennetta, who is coming back from a serious wrist injury and reaching her first Grand Slam semifinal. It was a nervy affair, featuring 13 breaks of serve in 18 games. It started with 5 service breaks at a trot until Azarenka finally held. Pennetta tried to hang with the Belorussian, staving off 5 set points in the first set before Azarenka closed it out, but overall Azarenka’s powerful game was too much for Pennetta. Azarenka prevailed in the end, 6-4, 6-2.
Williams beat Li Na of China, who battled both her nerves and a confident Serena, who is currently on a 24-match winning streak. It wasn’t until the second set that Li Na even won a game. A letdown from Williams helped Li break for 2-1 in the second, to get her first lead in the match, and her legs back under her. After that, she played more like the player that reached the semifinals, but Serena recovered and broke back in the next game. Serving at 2-5, Li played an astonishingly gutsy game, saving 6 match points before finally holding for 3-5 in a nearly 14-minute game. She then managed to get it to 30-all on Serena’s serve before the American closed it out on her 7th match point. Williams won 6-0, 6-2 and has yet to drop a set in the tournament.
Later Friday evening, Serena and Venus Williams lost in the doubles semifinals to the Czech Republic team of Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka.