Serena Williams to Face Johanna Larsson in Bastad Final

David Replogle@drepresentContributor IIIJuly 20, 2013

Top seed and world No. 1 Serena Williams eased into her eighth final of the year in Bastad, Sweden, taking out third-seeded Czech Klara Zakopalova, 6-0, 6-4 in 67 minutes.

Bastad was an interesting addition to Serena's 2013 schedule. It's an international-level—in other words, minortournament, offering little in terms of prize money or competition. It's also on slow red clay, bookmarked between the fast lawns at Wimbledon and the upcoming summer hard-court season.

Earlier in the week, Williams validated her decision to play. As Serena said to the press, according to ESPN"I've always loved the claymaybe my results weren't always as good on it. But I always loved sliding and running on it. And hard courts are so slow these days, so this isn't such bad preparation for the summer."

Williams faced little resistance in a 26-minute opening-set whitewash. It was part of an eight-game streak that saw her build a 2-0 lead in the second set. 

"I was hardly making mistakes in the first set. I have to figure out a way to continue that tennis for more than one set, and I'm definitely going to go back and watch the film," Williams said to the press following her win.

Zakopalova—who upset Williams at another small clay-court event in 2009 and nearly repeated the feat at Roland Garros that same yearoffered a greater challenge in the second set, breaking Williams' serve twice, but she ultimately had few weapons to trouble the American.

In winning, Williams upped her 2013 clay-court record to 27-0 and notched a tour-leading 50th win of the season. 

The world No. 1 goes on to face home-crowd favorite Johanna Larsson in Sunday's championship bout. The Swede battled past unseeded Flavia Pennetta in three sets, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, avenging a March loss to the Italian and returning to the Bastad final for the second time in three years. 

Williams trounced Larsson in straight sets in their only previous meeting, which came on hard courts during Fed Cup playoffs in April.