Serena Williams was a bit shaky at the start of her U.S. Open semifinal.
For all of six minutes.
That’s how long it took her to drop the opening two games. Williams spent the next hour playing flawlessly, particularly at the net, and grabbed 12 of the last 13 games to beat No. 19 seed Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia 6-3, 6-0 and reach her ninth final at Flushing Meadows and 36th at all Grand Slam tournaments.
With one more victory, Williams will earn her seventh U.S. Open championship and her 24th major singles trophy, equaling Margaret Court for the most in tennis history. Williams already owns the mark for the most in the half-century professional era; Court won some of hers against amateur competition.
A year ago, Williams missed the U.S. Open because she gave birth to her daughter, Olympia, during the tournament. She then dealt with complications related to blood clots.
The American returned to the tour in February and to Grand Slam action at the French Open in May, when she had to withdraw from the field with an injured chest muscle. At her second major back, Wimbledon, she was the runner-up. Now comes a chance to take a title and become, a few weeks shy of turning 37, the oldest woman to win a Slam in singles.
On Saturday, Williams will face 2017 runner-up Madison Keys, the No. 14 seed, or 20th-seeded Naomi Osaka of Japan, who were scheduled to play each other in the second semifinal.
Neither Keys, who is 23, nor Osaka, 20, has won a Grand Slam title.
Keys has beaten Osaka all three times they have met, including this year at the French Open and two years ago at the U.S. Open, when she came back after trailing 5-1 in the third set.