A rampaging Serena Williams moved to the brink of a record equalling 24th career Grand Slam title on Thursday storming past Elina Svitolina 6-3 6-1 to book her spot in the US Open final.
Since returning to action after the birth of her first child Williams has come agonisingly close to matching Margaret Court’s mark three times and will have a chance on Saturday to do so in front of an adoring home crowd for a second successive year.
Last year Williams was left in tears following a chaotic and controversial loss to Naomi Osaka on Arthur Ashe Stadium. She has also lost two Wimbledon finals since her return.
Now all that stands between the 37-year-old and her Holy Grail is Canadian Bianca Andreescu who beat Belinda Bencic of Sweden 7-6(7) 7-5 in the other semi-final later on Thursday (US local time).
“To be in yet another final, it seems honestly crazy,” said Williams. “But I don’t really expect too much less.
“I’ve had so many chances to pass it (Court).
“If you look at the span of the career, the players I’ve played, it’s amazing that I was able to get this many.”
The semi-final offered a classic matchup of styles with Williams and her prodigious power up against Svitolina, one of the best counter punchers in the women’s game.
Williams did not have her ‘A’ game in warm conditions but the former-world number one knew exactly what was needed particularly on the big points.
“I don’t think she played amazing today but she played very high level at the beginning where you had to make a difference,” said Svitolina. “I think she knows what she has to do.
“There’s lots of power behind her shots all the time.
“On the important moments she always steps up, always brings her best game.”
The fifth seeded Ukrainian had no shortage of chances herself but could not convert any of six break opportunities.
A ruthless Williams, however, bombarded Svitolina with punishing forehands and six aces to register her 101st US Open win, which tied her with Chris Evert for the most at Flushing Meadows.