Serena secures place in finals against Ivanovic
The top-ranked Williams beat Caroline Wozniacki 2-6, 6-2, 6-4, and the second-seeded Roger Federer turned back fifth-seeded Milos Raonic 6-2, 6-3.
Williams lost a set for the first time in the tournament and committed 41 unforced errors, 20 more than Wozniacki. Williams will face ninth-seeded Ana Ivanovic in the final. Ivanovic beat fifth-seeded Maria Sharapova 6-2, 5-7, 7-5 in a night match.
Federer will play sixth-seeded David Ferrer, a 6-3, 6-2 winner over Julien Benneteau.
Williams beat the 12th-seeded Wozniacki for the eighth time in nine career matches, overcoming a tight lower back.
“It was definitely feeling super tight in the match,’’ she said. “That’s when I really relaxed, to be honest. By then I was able just to go for more shots and come to the net more and just kind of not have anything to lose.’’
She also tried to shorten points with booming serves, leading to getting just 58 percent of her serves in play.
Williams and Wozniacki both struggled with their serves, leading to a combined 15 service breaks, including the first five games of the third set. Wozniacki was broken in eight of nine service games in one stretch and connected on just 54 percent of her first serves.
“I didn’t get many first serves in,’’ Wozniacki said. “When I did, they weren’t placed very well. It’s frustrating, because you lose a set 6-4 in the third and you only hold serve once.”
Williams has never won the Cincinnati-area tournament in five previous appearances. She lost a third-set tiebreaker to Victoria Azarenka last year.
With the win, Williams also wrapped up the U.S. Open Series women’s title. Williams has won it three of the past four years and will attempt to set another record for the largest payout in tennis history at the U.S. Open - $4 million ($3 million for winning the U.S. Open and a $1 million bonus for winning the U.S. Open as the series champion).
The two-time defending U.S. Open champion won both the U.S. Open Series title and the U.S. Open last year.