Serena Williams breezed past Anastasija Sevastova to reach the final of the US Open, taking only 66 minutes to demolish her Latvian opponent 6-3, 6-0.
“It is really incredible, a year ago I was literally fighting for my life at the hospital after having the baby,” Williams said after the first of Thursday’s semi-finals.
“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.”
Williams is seeking her first Grand Slam title after being out of the game for over a year following the announcement of her pregnancy in April 2017 and then giving birth last September.
She swept aside the challenge of the No. 19 seed, winning 11 of the final 12 games and losing just 12 points in the second set.
“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.
Williams lost her serve in the first game and trailed 2-0 before winning four in a row to take command.
After winning the first set she completely dominated the rest of the match, with her net play proving particularly effective.
“I’ve been working hard on my volleys,” Williams said. “I have won a few doubles championships so I know how to volley.
“I just usually come in to shake hands,” she joked. “I wanted to try something different and it worked in my favour.”
Williams said she wasn’t back to her best yet.
“I’m still waiting to get to be the Serena that I was, and I don’t know if I’ll ever be that physically, emotionally, mentally,” Williams said. “But I’m on my way. I feel like I still have a ways to go. Once I get there, I’ll be able to play even hopefully better.”
Sevastova was resigned in defeat.
“When she’s in front it’s tough to play,” she said. “I tried on her games, but she served well – when somebody serves an ace at 123 miles per hour there’s not much you can do.”
Victory in Saturday’s final will see Williams equal Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles.
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