serena williams

serena williams

*Looks like we have ourselves a US Open women’s final, ladies and gentlemen.

In a blustery match inside Arthur Ashe stadium today, (Friday), Serena Williams, 31, shut out her capable, but bewildered Chinese competitor, Li Na, 6-0, 6-3, setting up a third consecutive appearance in the US Open finals and a battle royale between she and rival Victoria Azarenka.

Li, also 31, had been considered a threat going into the match, as she always plays Serena close despite her 1-8 losing record against her, but the defending champion was on a mission and everyone knows what that means…

Serena put quite a bit of distance between the two on today.

With the occasion curiously seeming to  be a touch too big for her, Li Na started the match out spraying returns in Serena’s opening service game and having own her serve broken immediately.  And it was all downhill from there as the set went on, with the otherwise charismatic no. 5 seed ultimately taking to her chair with a fresh bagel to nibble on.

The unwelcome snack must’ve given Li a bit of energy, though, because she began to come alive in the 2nd.   After being tested mightily, she finally managed to hold serve for the first time, achieving a score of 1-1, but no matter how much of her game she was able to find, Serena matched it and took it further.  She was even able to break Serena’s “best serve in women’s tennis” in the 3rd game of the 2nd set, but the experienced champion quickly righted the ship, coming back from being down 0-40 to break Li yet again.

It wasn’t necessarily smooth sailing after that, but the momentum has clearly retuned to Serena.

Off the ground, Li was beginning to display more of what she is capable of that point, even showing off her newfound net play abilities, but what she was able to do, Serena was simply able to do better.   Serena’s serve was pressured but not broken again and after Li put up a valiant fight to save several match points on her own serve at 2-5, Serena was able to turn it up an even greater level to serve the match out and earn her spot in the finals.

As much as Li Na is known for her athleticism, power and world class backhand, she’s also known for her fragile resolve.  No one knows where this, along with a series of recent emotional failures, will find her, but it will find Serena williams having moved on to compete for a record 3.6 million in prize money and another Slam title to bolster her legacy.

Her finals opponent, Victoria Azarenka has beaten her the last two times they’ve played, but it’s hard to see Serena Williams being denied.

The final showdown will take place this Sunday.