Can Anyone Stop Serena Williams At The US Open? Women’s SF Preview
by Staff | September 7th, 2012, 1:08 am

Serena Williams has steamrolled her way to a seventh US Open semifinal appearance Friday. The 30-year-old hasn’t dropped a set or really been challenged through five matches losing just 16 games thus far at the last major of the tennis season.

Her next test comes against the diminutive Sara Errani who knocked out countrywoman and best friend Roberta Vinci to become the first Italian woman in the US Open semifinals.

“She’s playing well,” Serena said of Errani. “Finals of Roland Garros and now semis here, potential finals. I can’t underestimate her. It’s not by luck she’s been doing so well. We will have to see.”

Serena has beaten Errani in all three previous meetings but the two haven’t played since 2009 when the Italian actually snagged the opening set from Serena 6-4.

“Serena is playing unbelievable I think,” Errani said. “I’m in semifinal for something. I won many matches. I’m playing good. So I have to just going on the court and try to make my game as the best as I can, how I have to do all these days. So I will try and we will see.”

Serena’s recent runs in New York have been marred by controversy during the final weekend. Last year she exploded on chair umpire Eva Asdaraki and in 2010 she had the infamous foot fault incident.

Serena is seeking her 15th Grand Slam title and a fourth at the US Open.

In the earlier semifinal, screamers Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova renew their blossoming, boisterous rivalry. Azarenka leads 5-4 winning two hardcourt showdowns earlier this year at the Australian Open and at Indian Wells, but Maria came out ahead in Madrid.

“I think we both play a pretty aggressive game,” 2006 US Open champ Sharapova said of Vika. “We’re good competitors and we love to win. I mean, who doesn’t? But she’s had such a solid year this year, kinda her breakthrough in terms of winning the Grand Slam, being so solid, so consistent, being No. 1 in the world for the first time. So a lot of firsts for her, which I think a lot of people expected in the last few years. This is kind of the year where she’s come out and, yeah, played really great tennis.”

Because of her results Azarenka has already wrapped up the No. 1 ranking a little longer. Errani, meanwhile, has clinched the No. 1 doubles ranking thanks to her run to the finals with partner Vinci.

WTA Semifinal notes:
The season’s first three Grand Slam champions – Azarenka, Sharapova and Williams – all feature in today’s semifinal line-up, in addition this year’s Roland Garros runner-up, Errani.

The last time a player won multiple Grand Slam titles in a season was in 2010 when Williams won the Australian Open and Wimbledon.

Total Grand Slam singles titles among the semifinalists: Williams (14), Sharapova (4), Azarenka (1).

Williams (1999, 2002, 2008) and Sharapova (2006) are former US Open champions.

Azarenka and Errani are bidding for their first US Open final. They are their respective nation’s first US Open semifinalists in the Open Era.

Errani is one of six players on tour who have reached a Grand Slam final, but is still seeking her first victory. She would be the 42nd player to win a Grand Slam title in the Open Era.

For the second time in three years, three of the Top 4 seeds have reached their appointed slots in the semis. In 2010, [1] Wozniacki, [2] Clijsters, [3] V.Williams reached the SF. This previously had not happened since 2006 US Open: [1] Mauresmo, [2] Henin, [3] Sharapova. The last time it happened at any Slam was 2012 Australian Open, when [2] Kvitova, [3] Azarenka and [4] Sharapova went to the final four.

Williams is the only player to reach the SF without the loss of a set. She was also the last player to win the title without the loss of a set in 2008 (also achieved the feat in 2002).

Williams has conceded fewest games en route to the SF (16) and least amount of time on court (5 hours, 43 minutes).

Sharapova has conceded the most games en route to the SF (31) and spent the longest time on court (7 hours, 45 minutes).

Errani enters the semis with the highest first service percentage at the 2012 US Open – 83%. Of the final four she also has the best numbers winning points off second serve – 65%. S.Williams has won most points off first serve – 81%.

Azarenka owns the best win-loss percentage on hard court this year (31-2, 93.93%).

Most career hard court titles won: S.Williams (30), Sharapova (17), Azarenka (11), Errani (1).

Azarenka and Sharapova have been announced as the first two qualifiers for the 8-woman singles field at this year’s TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships – Istanbul.

Azarenka leads 5-4

• Azarenka is making her US Open SF debut today (previous best 4r in 2007, l. Kuznetsova)
• Azarenka is playing her 4th career Grand Slam SF (1-2 record) and this is her 4th SF appearance in six majors
• This is Azarenka’s 3rd Grand Slam SF appearance of the year (only one missing is Roland Garros, 4r)
• Azarenka is the first Belarusian to reach the SF at the US Open
• Azarenka is bidding to reach her 2nd Grand Slam final. At the Australian Open this year, she became the 41st player to win a Grand Slam singles title in the Open Era
• The last player to complete the Australian Open-US Open double was Hingis in 1997
• A win today would put Azarenka into her 7th final of the year (4-2 record) and 23rd of her career (12-10 record)

• Sharapova is through to the SF here for the 3rd time, and first time since her title run in 2006
• Sharapova has now advanced to the SF or better at 5 of the last 7 majors (including US Open)
• Sharapova is contesting her 15th career Grand Slam SF (7-7 win-loss record) and 3r of the season (only one missing is Wimbledon, 4r)
• Sharapova is bidding to reach her 7th Grand Slam final, and 3rd of the year (R-Up Australian Open, Won Roland Garros)
• Sharapova won her 4th Grand Slam title at 2012 Roland Garros, becoming only the 6th player in the Open Era to complete a career Grand Slam
• The last player to complete the Roland Garros-US Open double was Henin in 2007
• A win today would see Sharapova become the first Russian through to the final since Zvonareva in 2010

Williams leads 3-0

• Three-time US Open champion Williams is playing her 22nd Grand Slam SF (18-3 record) and 2nd of the year (Wimbledon)
• Williams is bidding for her 6th US Open final (3-2 record) and 19th Grand Slam final (14-4 record)
• Williams has amassed a 63-9 record at the US Open (including QF win). During this tournament she has moved past sister Venus and Davenport to sit 4th on the Open Era leaderboard:
• Williams is looking to join an elite group of 5 women to win the US Open 4 times in the Open Era (Court, King, Evert, Navratilova and Graf)
• Eight of Williams’s nine losses at US Open came at the hands of players ranked in Top 10; the other loss was to an unranked Kim Clijsters (2009)
• With her QF victory, Williams picked up her 223rd career Grand Slam match win; in the Open Era, only Navratilova (306), Evert (299) and Graf (278) have more
• Williams is 69-5 since the start of the 2011 summer hardcourt season

• Errani has achieved her best US Open result by reaching the SF (previously 3r, 2009 and 2010)
• Errani has reached the SF at a major for the 2nd time this year (and in her career, having reached the final at Roland Garros). She also reached her first Grand Slam QF at this year’s Australian Open
• Errani, who defeated countrywoman and doubles partner Roberta Vinci in the QF, is Italy’s first female US Open semifinalist in the Open Era. This event marks first time Italy has had two women through to the QF stage at the US Open, and at any Grand Slam in the Open Era, though Italy has had a US Open quarterfinalist for the last 4 successive years (Pennetta 2011, Schiavone 2010, Pennetta 2009, 2008)
• With her 4r win over world No.6 Kerber, Errani improved to 3-30 lifetime against Top 10 players. She lost her first 28 such matches, before breaking through at this year’s Roland Garros (d. No.10 Kerber in QF and No.6 Stosur in SF). She is 0-19 lifetime vs. Top 5
• In her first 17 Grand Slam appearances, Errani’s win-loss record was 15-17; so far in 2012 she is 17-3 at the majors (including QF win over Vinci)
• Errani is having the best year of her career, advancing to her maiden Grand Slam final at Roland Garros (l. Sharapova), in addition to winning 4 singles and 7 doubles titles, and breaking into the Top 10

Arthur Ashe Stadium 12:00 PM Start Time
1. Men’s Doubles – Finals
Leander Paes (IND)[5] v. Bob Bryan (USA)[2]
Radek Stepanek (CZE)[5] Mike Bryan (USA)[2]

Not Before:1:45 PM
2. Women’s Singles – Semifinals
Victoria Azarenka (BLR)[1] v. Maria Sharapova (RUS)[3]

Not Before:3:45 PM
3. Women’s Singles – Semifinals
Serena Williams (USA)[4] v. Sara Errani (ITA)[10]

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37 Comments for Can Anyone Stop Serena Williams At The US Open? Women’s SF Preview

jane Says:

I think the final will be Serena and Azarenka. I picked Azarenka in my bracket but mistakenly picked Kerber over Serena because she’d just beaten her in Cincy. Errani just doesn’t have the power to pose a problem for Serena (it would be a surprise surely). Serena is 3-0 in that match up but they have not played since 2009. Sharpie actually has a decent H2H with Vika (4-5) but just thinking of the AO final makes me give Vika the edge in that semi.

jane Says:

BTW, Staff, nice Facts and preview here.

Kimberly Says:

Very nice preview. I agree with Jane although I hope Maria wins.

No Limits Tennis Says:

Serena is a monster and she will probably win the US open.

RZ Says:

I really hope that Eva Asderaki is the chair for the screaming match. She might actually force Shriekapova and Azaryellka to shut up.

Thangs Says:

I am sorry for Sharapova…Dont know if she would like to win semi and face serena in final…And loosing to Azarenka again in GS is not good either..She should have given up against Bartoli..

jamie Says:

Serena is unstoppable.

MMT Says:

The answer to the question in the title is only Serena.

jane Says:

What a stinker of a start from Azarenka, but at the same time, Sharapova is playing well: they’ve pointed out on ESPN that her winners are varied too – lobs, forehands, backhands, etc.

jane Says:

Okay things are evening out now; Sharapova’s level is dropping and Aza’s is picking up. One break back for Vika and now 15-30 on Maria’s serve…

Sue Says:

Hate the screaming. Can’t watch.

jane Says:

Third set coming…

Mary Carillo said that the powers-that-be have done a study and concluded that they cannot do anything about the noise these players make – can’t recall precisely what she said but it was something to do with the noises being intrinsic.

However, the study did conclude that juniors must be discouraged and will be penalized in the future.

Carillo was angry and firmly against the ruling, implying that these players should be forced to make less noise or be fined, etc. J-Mac not as much but he tends to be quieter during the ladies matches, I’ve noticed.

The anchor comments that Errani and Serena are “relatively” quiet. Obviously he didn’t see Errani vs. Kerber!

jane Says:

The anchor *commented (not Fowler or Robinson but… ?)

jane Says:

Azarenka is leaving balls/returns too short and Maria is right on them. But Vika is pushing for a break, hard, right now – deuce again. Looks hot out there today.

jane Says:

Deuce #5…

jane Says:

4 all in set 3. Sharapova’s sure been pushed her last two service games but she’s managed to hang in there.

jane Says:

In the end, Vika was just too tough – but what a CLOSE encounter between these two. Right down to the wire. Maria is crushed. Vika is thrilled.

Thangs Says:

Atleast Vika has some chance against arrogant in the final..

Alok Says:

Sue Says:
Hate the screaming. Can’t watch.

September 7th, 2012 at 4:12 pm

I tried watching the match, then watching on mute, and it wasn’t enjoyable, so had to stop watching. Sharapova’s screams are deafening on TV, can’t imagine what it’s like for her opponent to have to endure. Her shrieks and screams are probably the reasons she wins so many matches coming from behind because the opponent’s ears become tired.

Eric Says:

Jane, Sharapova wasn’t just pushed in two or three games that set – all of them (all but one, maybe) went to at least one deuce, often more than one. Azarenka had five break points I believe before finally getting the one on her second MP. By contrast Maria got to deuce on Vika’s serve just once or twice. It was extremely competitive point by point but not in the big picture. (In the third set only, is what I’m talking about.)

jane Says:

Yes, I watched all of it Eric, but I guess the deuces and bps in the later games (2-3, 3-4, and ultimately 4-5) just seemed more intense because it was crunch time.

andrea Says:

looks like serena will be finalist unless errani pulls rabbits out of her a**. glad that azarenka won, because i wasn’t interested in watching another serena beatdown on maria. azarenka can at least challenge serena.

jane Says:

“azarenka can at least challenge serena.” – Although one wonders – Can she? Can anyone?!

andrea Says:

hi jane..i think she can. she’s a good mover, a quick thinker and more pace on her shots than most of the girls. serena can come out flat on occasion and pay the price. but if she’s bombing serves, it will be tough.

jane Says:

hi back, andrea – true, and Vika hits deep too, so she can maybe use that depth to keep Serena from blowing her off the court. But Vika herself can’t come out nervous and/or flat like she did in the first set today. She needs to come out and play like she did in the second set, and then she might have a chance. As you say, at least it could be more competitive.

jane Says:

Also I think that Vika’s come through stiffer competition in these later rounds – she beat Stosur, last year’s champion in the QFs, and then Sharapova, also a former champion in the semifinal – so maybe that will help her?

autoFilter Says:

Can this stuff even be truly satisfying for Serena? I mean, when Fed or Rafa or Nole have won titles without dropping any sets, they’ve almost invariably produced plenty of absolutely magical tennis along the way in order to do so. Whereas with Serena the “competition” is just absurdly outmatched by her service and power – which is not to say that she doesn’t have other tools in her bag. It’s just that she is scarcely given any real cause to use them.

Krishna Says:

Unless Serena is off, she will beat Azarenka pretty routinely..probably 6-4, 6-3.. if she had played would be even worse lol..

Kimberly Says:

what a beatdown. I think Azarenka is in with about a 25% chance. But definite blowout potential however.

Polo Says:

Didn’t everybody think that Stosur did not stand a chance against Serena last year?

jane Says:

Quick shout out to Canadian junior Filip Peliwo who has now reaches all of the slam semis, possibly even all finals – winning Wimbledon this year.

Good point Polo, although was she quite as dominant leading into the final last year? Can’t remember.

Kimmi Says:

missed all the matches. i agree with those that said azarenka is a better opponent for serena than sharapova.

if there is rallies, azarenkahas a chance, but i don’t think serena will allow that. it will be big returns and big serve..that’s it.

Alok Says:

This is the third USO in 3 years Serena’s been in the final, and she lost two due to her implosion. I doubt she’ll want to make this a third and lose the title. She’ll probably come out calm and collected and ready to dictate play from the first ball. Azarenka has the game to beat Serena but I doubt serena will allow her to get her teeth into the match. My bet’s on serena.

Skeezer Says:

What no Love here for the Americans and there 12th Slam?

Thats right fans, 1 more than Rafa (hehe)(j/k…couldn’t help it)

Brian Bros ROCK!

Ben Pronin Says:

Serena didn’t play in 2010 and lost in the 2009 semi.

M Says:

“Whereas with Serena the “competition” is just absurdly outmatched by her service and power – which is not to say that she doesn’t have other tools in her bag.”

She absolutely has them, and even when people go on and on about her “power”, she’s using other things simultaneously there as well.

Have you ever seen her play live? It’s not just about power, it’s about precision.

And also tenacity. Vika made her work for her win today.

Congratulations to them both.

Alok Says:

People talk of Serena’s power as though it’s something that’s bad, and it’s been stated that she’s beating up on the skinny girls. What they fail to realize is that serena and venus both use men as their hitting partners, which enables them to return with huge power. I think it’s brilliant for them to have thought of using guys to put their returns at a higher level. Their hitting partners are seen sitting in their player’s boxes during their matches.

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