Tennis

Sensational Serena Williams into ninth US Open final

Serena Williams of the United States celebrates after match point against Anastasija Sevastova US Open semi-final match on 6 September, 2018.
Serena Williams of the United States celebrates after match point against Anastasija Sevastova US Open semi-final match on 6 September, 2018. Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports via Reuters

Six-time champion Serena Williams comfortably defeated Anastasia Sevastova to reach the final of the US Open for a ninth time.

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Williams, seeded 17th, required only 66 minutes to dispatch the 19th-seeded Sevastova 6-3, 6-0.

The 36-year-old American will play Japan's Naomi Osaka in Saturday's final after the 20th seed beat Madison Keys.

Victory for Serena will equal Margaret Court's record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles.

"It is really incredible. A year ago I was literally fighting for my life at the hospital after having the baby," said Williams, who missed last year's US Open because of the birth of her first child, Olympia.

"Every day that I step out on this court I am so grateful to have an opportunity to play this sport.

"So no matter what happens in any match, I already feel like I have already won."

"I just feel like there is a lot of growth still to go in my game - that is actually the most exciting part.

"Even though I am not a spring chicken, I still have a very, very bright future."

Naomi Osaka told Williams "I love you" just moments after she became the first Japanese woman to reach a Grand Slam final.

"It still feels a little bit, like, surreal. Even when I was a little kid, I always dreamed that I would play Serena in a final of a Grand Slam," she said.

"Just the fact that it is happening, I am very happy about it. At the same time I feel like even though I should enjoy this moment, I should still think of it as another match.

"Yeah, I should not really think of her as, like, my idol. I should just try to play her as an opponent."

The contrast on Saturday cannot be greater as Serena will be playing in her 31st Grand Slam final.

When Williams, 16 years Osaka's senior, won her first US Open in 1999, the Japanese was not yet two years old.

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