Serena crushes Pennetta to reach Open semi-final

Wed Sep 3, 2014 11:46pm EDT
 
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By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Two-times defending champion Serena Williams, in her black and white leopard dress, started quietly before roaring past 11th seed Flavia Pennetta 6-3 6-2 to reach the semi-finals of the U.S. Open on Wednesday.

The world number one lost her first two service games to Pennetta to fall behind 3-0 before snapping to attention and rattling off the next six games to claim the first set.

"She was playing really well and she was playing very aggressive," said Williams. "So I had to just step up my level of game as well."

Determined to make up for a disappointing grand slam season in which she failed to reach the quarter-finals in any of the three previous majors, Williams broke her fellow 32-year-old in the fifth and seventh games to advance in 63 minutes.

The top seed will meet Russian 17th seed Ekaterina Makarova, who reached her first grand slam semi-final with a 6-4 6-2 victory over 16th seed Victoria Azarenka, runner-up to Williams in the last two Opens.

Pennetta was disappointed to have lost, but not disappointed with the quality of her tennis against the 17-times grand slam singles winner.

"She was really good today. I think we play really good tennis tonight. I mean, really strong tennis in everything," said the Italian. "Today, I push so much and she come in with the best tennis, I think."

The match was played at a high level, but once Williams got rolling she was hard to stop, blasting 17 winners in the second set for 31 in total.   Continued...

 
Serena Williams (USA) celebrates after recording match point against Flavia Pennetta (ITA) on day ten of the 2014 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Sep 3, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports