US Open Women’s SFs: Serena v Makarova, Wozniacki v Peng
The women’s US Open semifinals will be contested later this after in New York City. Five-time champion Serena Williams is the clear favorite against three other semifinalists who have combined to reach one career Slam final. Serena has won 10 straight matches en route to her 25th career Slam SF (she has a 21-3 record in those matches). She’ll play first-time Slam semifinalist Ekatarina Makarova. The Russian lefty beat Serena at the 2012 Australian Open.
“Makarova moves well,” Serena said. “She doesn’t care who she plays, she gives 100%. Those types of players are often difficult to play because it makes them better. Like I say, she moves well. She has that serve that can hit — that can go out wide or you never know where it’s going to go. She’s has a great backhand and she’s improved her forehand. It’s going to be interesting for me to do the best that I can, because, you know, she has a lot of momentum going into this match as well.”
Wozniacki, the choice to make the final from the bottom half, has won 18 of her last 22 matches.
“She’s been playing well,” Wozniacki said of Peng. “She’s playing aggressively. She she’s strong from both sides. She’s been serving well. It’s going to be a difficult match. It’s going to be a different match than against Sara today. Sara runs a lot of balls down, doesn’t make many mistake. Peng is closer to the baseline going for her shots more. It’s going to be a hard one, but, again, it’s going to fun.”
Only one of the semifinalists has won a Grand Slam singles title previously: Williams, 17 in total – including five US Open titles (1999, 2002, 2008, 2012, 2013). Wozniacki is also a former Grand Slam finalist – reached 2009 US Open final (l. Clijsters).
Makarova and Peng are bothmaking their Grand SlamSF debut; bidding for career-first Grand Slamfinal.
Peng is the 14th unseeded player to advance to a Grand Slam SF since 2001 Wimbledon (first Slamwith 32 seeds).
Peng is bidding to become the 12th unseeded player to advance to a Grand Slam final in the Open Era, and only the 3rd at the US Open.
Aside from unranked Clijsters in 2009, Peng (No.39) would be the lowest-ranked finalist at the US Open since V.Williams was R-Up in 1997 (l. Hingis) on a ranking of No.66. The next lowest-ranked US Open finalist since computerized rankings began in 1975 was S.Williams in 2011 (No.27, l. Stosur in F). Before Clijsters, S.Williams was also the last unseeded player to win a Grand Slam title – was ranked No.81 when she won the 2007 Australian Open.
An unseeded player has won a Grand Slam title three times in the Open Era: Chris O’Neil (1979 Australian Open), Williams (2007 Australian Open) and KimClijsters (2009 US Open). Peng is looking to become the fourth.
Williams, the oldest of the semifinalists, is 32 years old. The last player aged 32+ to advance to the US Open final was Martina Navratilova (1991 US Open, R-Up, aged 34).
Williams became the third oldest woman in the Open Era to win a Grand Slam singles title at 2013 US Open (31 years, 348 days – based on tournament end date).
In the Open Era, a thirty-something has won a Grand Slam singles title 17 times, a feat accomplished by: Serena Williams (4), Margaret Court (3), Martina Navratilova (3), Chris Evert (2), Billie Jean King (2), Ann Jones (1), Li Na (1) and Virginia Wade (1).
Williams is playing her first Grand Slam SF since winning the title here in 2013 (d. Azarenka). Wozniacki is playing her first Grand SlamSF since 2011 US Open (l. S.Williams).
Williams is looking to become the second woman in the Open Era to win three consecutive titles here (Evert won four straight in 1975-78). She is also attempting the first three-peat at any Slam since Justine Henin at Roland Garros in 2005-07.
There have been 21 title defenses at the US Open since 1946. The last player to defend her title was Williams in 2012- 2013.
Prior to this year,Makarova’s best result at the US Openwas reaching QF in 2013;while for Peng, it was R16 in 2011.
Peng has equaled the best result for a Chinese player at the US Open by reaching the SF (also Li last year). A win today would see her become only the second Chinese player to contest a Grand Slam final (after Li: 2011 Australian Open, 2011 Roland Garros, 2013 Australian Open, 2014 Australian Open).
The last Russian woman to reach the US Open final was Vera Zvonareva in 2010 (l. Clijsters); the last Russian woman to win the US OpenwasMaria Sharapova in 2006 (d. Henin).
Makarova, Peng and Williams have advanced to the last four without the loss of a set, while Wozniacki has lost two. The last player to win the title without the loss of a set wasWilliams in 2008 (also achieved the feat in 2002).
Williams has dropped the fewest games en route to the SF (22) and spent the least amount of time on court (6 hours, 45 minutes).
Wozniacki has conceded the most games en route to the SF (32) and spent the longest time on court (7 hours, 58 minutes).
Williams is bidding for her sixth final of the season;Makarova, Peng and Wozniacki their second.
Hard court titles won by the semifinalists: Williams (40), Wozniacki (17),Makarova (1), Peng (0).
Williams has served the most aces so far at this tournament (23), followed by Peng (21; served 0 in 1r and 9 in 4r) and Makarova and Wozniacki (16 each).
Williams has issued the second fastest serve of the event so far – 122mph (behind Lisicki, 124mph).
Heading into SF, Williams has won 116 of 145 points on first serve (80%). The best strike rate among the semifinalists and second to Keys (82% from 2 matches).
FRIDAY, 5 SEPTEMBER – SEMIFINAL MATCH-UPS
 SERENA WILLIAMS (USA #1) vs.  EKATERINA MAKAROVA (RUS #18)
Williams leads 3-1
 CAROLINE WOZNIACKI (DEN #11) vs. PENG SHUAI (CHN #39)
Wozniacki leads 5-1
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