Flushing Meadows, NY (SportsNetwork.com) – Current world No. 1 Serena Williams and former top-ranked star Caroline Wozniacki will decide the 2014 women’s champion at the U.S. Open.
The reigning two-time U.S. Open titlist Williams flattened 17th-seeded Russian left-hander Ekaterina Makarova 6-1, 6-3 in one hour on Friday. Makarova, who had yet to lose a set at this year’s Open, was appearing in her first-ever Grand Slam semifinal.
The razor-sharp Williams, who has yet to lose a set over the last two weeks, owns 17 Grand Slam singles titles, including five at the U.S. Open. She beat Victoria Azarenka in the last two finals at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center and will now perform in her eighth final (5-2) at the American major.
When asked how she felt to reach another Grand Slam final, Serena said, “It feels so good.”
In the first semi of the day at Ashe Stadium, the 10th-seeded Wozniacki secured a berth in her second U.S. Open final when China’s Peng Shuai was forced to retire from their semifinal bout on another hot day in New York City.
Wozniacki was leading the unseeded Peng 7-6 (7-1), 4-3 (30-40) when the Chinese player left the court due to some obvious discomfort in her lower body.
Ten minutes elapsed in between points before Peng was ready to continue at Ashe, but once again she would succumb to severe leg cramp pain, sitting down on the court before it was announced that she would be unable to continue on Day 12 of the fortnight due to heat illness.
The admirable Peng exited Ashe on a wheelchair, as the 2009 Open runner-up Wozniacki offered some melancholy applause for her Chinese counterpart.
“It’s definitely very difficult,” Wozniacki said in an on-court interview. “You’re out there and you want to battle and want to finish it off properly. I feel sorry for Peng. I hope she’ll be OK.”
Wozniacki improved to 2-2 in her career U.S. Open semis, having reached the final four here four of the last six years.
The 32-year-old Williams owns 62 career WTA titles, including five already this year. She’s now reached at least one Grand Slam final in each of the last eight years.
Williams is a brilliant 17-4 in her career Grand Slam finals and will appear in her fourth straight championship match in New York.
A victory on Sunday would place Williams in a tie with Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova for fourth place on the women’s all-time Grand Slam titles list with 18. Only Margaret Court (24), Steffi Graf (22) and Helen Wills Moody (19) would have more.
Williams is a sizzling 19-1 since losing at Wimbledon in late June.
The resurgent 24-year-old Wozniacki will appear in her second career Grand Slam final, both in Flushing. The Dane is 22-13 in her career WTA finals overall, including a win in Istanbul in July.
Williams is 8-1 lifetime against her good friend Wozniacki, including 2-0 this year, with both matches occurring within the last month. The American topped the Dane in a U.S. Open semifinal three years ago.
The 2014 U.S. Open champ will pocket a record $3 million.