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US Open 2011: Serena Williams Has Clear Path to Grand Slam Glory

Josh Martin@@JoshMartinNBANBA Lead WriterSeptember 5, 2011

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 03:  Serena Williams of the United States reacts against Victoria Azarenka of Belarus during Day Six of the 2011 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 3, 2011 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

There's no such thing as an easily won Grand Slam in the world of tennis, though the 2011 US Open may be the best chance that Serena Williams has had in a long time to resume her position atop the sport, if only for one more glorious moment.

More than a year since winning her 13th-career major championship and just six months out from a blood clot that put her life in jeopardy, Williams is in prime position to claim her fourth US Open and serve notice to the rest of the sport that, despite the ailments that her and her sister Venus have dealt with of late, the Williams sisters' reign over women's tennis is anything but over.

Williams, the No. 28 seed in this year's women's field, is the clear favorite to finish off 16th-seeded Ana Ivanovic, the 2008 French Open champion, and advance to the quarterfinals.

From there, Williams would likely face seventh-seeded Francesca Schiavone, winner of the 2010 French Open, followed by world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki in the semis to advance to the final match this coming Saturday.

A favorable path for Williams, to say the least, and one made even more manageable by the absence of Kim Clijsters, the defending US Open champion, and the early exit of Maria Sharapova.

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Certainly, Williams isn't a surefire guarantee to win, given the wear and tear on her body and the toll that it has taken on her performance in recent years, though her current draw is about as good as she could possibly ask for in pursuit of another Grand Slam to add to her resume.

A win for Williams at Flushing Meadows would be a far better result than what she got out of her last US Open.

In 2009, Williams famously berated a lineswoman during her semifinal match against Clijsters, earning a point penalty that was ultimately the difference in the match and sent her opponent on to the final.

More importantly, though, victory for Serena at the US Open would signify that she is, in fact, still a force to be reckoned with in women's tennis, in spite of her bodily woes and regardless of how weak the remaining field may be.  

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