Serena Williams Cruises Past Elina Svitolina, Advances to 2019 US Open Final

Megan ArmstrongAnalyst ISeptember 6, 2019

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 05: Serena Williams of the United States hits autographed balls into the crowd after her victory over Elina Svitolina of Ukraine at Arthur Ashe Stadium at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 05, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by TPN/Getty Images)
TPN/Getty Images

Serena Williams tied Chris Evert for the most career U.S. Open singles wins with her 6-3, 6-1 defeat of No. 5 seed Elina Svitolina in the semifinals Thursday night in New York City. 

Williams, seeded eighth this year, now holds a 101-12 record at Flushing Meadows since she debuted there in 1998. Her first Grand Slam championship came in 1999 at the U.S. Open, and the 23-time Grand Slam singles winner is one match away from tying Margaret Court's all-time record of 24. 

The 37-year-old will next play in her 10th U.S. Open finals—most among women in the Open Era.

She made it there by capitalizing on Svitolina's failure to put away break or game points—especially in the first set—as the Ukrainian went 0-of-6 overall on break points. Williams also pounced on Svitolina's second serve while continuing her tournament-long dominance in service games.

The tale of the first set was Svitolina letting too many opportunities slip away, and, in turn, she dropped her first set of the tournament. That set the tone for the remainder of the match, which it has done over and over again in Williams' career, as she is now 95-1 all-time at the U.S. Open when winning the first set. 

The second set highlighted Williams' pristine movement, illustrated by her ability to redirect shots from the baseline and play at the net (11-of-16 net points won overall).

Overall, Williams had 34 winners and just 20 unforced errors. 

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Thursday night's match is just the latest example of Williams' amazing longevity, as FiveThirtyEight's Tom Perrotta wrote earlier in the day: 

"Since then, 58 different players have ascended to the top 10, according to the WTA, and Serena has played 55 of them. She’s also played almost all of the women who have made it into the top 5 since her first title, facing 36 of the 37. And more of Williams’s opponents are likely to make their top 10 debuts soon: Bianca Andreescu, whom she faced in Toronto last month, is ranked 15th and could reach the top 10 for the first time after she won Wednesday in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open."

This was Svitolina's second career major semifinal appearance, and her first came earlier this summer at Wimbledon where she lost to eventual winner Simona Halep. Given the way Williams is playing, she may have just lost to the eventual U.S. Open winner, too. 

Williams will try for her seventh championship at Flushing Meadows against No. 15 Bianca Andreescu after the 19-year-old Canadian brushed aside No. 13 Belinda Bencic, who had previously upset defending champion and world No. 1 Naomi Osaka, in their semifinal match later Thursday night.

Andreescu's only other meeting with Williams came in the Rogers Cup final on Aug. 11, which Williams retired from in the first set due to back spasms.


What's Next? 

Williams will face No. 15 Bianca Andreescu in Saturday's U.S. Open final.