US Open: Serena Williams beats Li Na to face Victoria Azarenka in final
Serena Williams faces a rematch with Victoria Azarenka after a straight sets win over Li Na in her US Open semi-final.
By Paul Higham Twitter: @SkySportsPaulH
Last Updated: 08/09/13 11:41pm
Williams broke Li five times, and she was dominant on her own serve winning 76 percent of points on first serve and being broken just the once.
The defending champion and World No 1 breezed through the opening set against a nervous looking Li, taking her tally of consecutive games won at the US Open to a remarkable 24.
Chinese star Li raised her game considerably in the second set after visibly relaxing, grabbing her only break of serve early on before then proving to be a stubborn opponent to see off in the penultimate and best game of the math.
Li fended off seven match points before eventually holding her serve after an epic 12-minute game, but it only delayed the inevitable as Williams wrapped up the win in the next after just under an hour and a half.
Williams took just 29 minutes to inflict a 6-0 bagel on Li, who only won 14 points in the first set and nine of those came courtesy of unforced errors from Williams.
Li finally got on the board by winning the second game of the second set, and almost from nowhere she broke Williams to get ahead for the first time in the match.
At 40-0 in the next she was cruising into a healthy lead but Williams muscled in on her serve and instantly grabbed a break back to level at 2-2.
A safe hold followed and then almost inevitably Williams broke Li's serve for a fifth time in the next to lead 4-2, which became 5-2 after another routine service game.
Then came the memorable last stand from Li, fighting off six match points as the Arthur Ashes crowd were finally treated to the top-class tennis they had been looking for.
Li showed her class by finally holding serve, but despite a couple of wobbles Williams held her nerve, and her serve, to make a seven US Open final.
The 16-time grand slam champion will now face a re-match of last year's final against Azarenka as she looks for a fifth US Open title.