Serena Williams has come a step closer to a record-equalling 24th grand slam singles title after getting the better of Elina Svitolina in straight sets at Flushing Meadows.
Williams will face Canadian teenager Bianca Andreescu who wasn't even born when Serena won her first US Open. There have been several records broken even just to get to this point this week.
The victory against Svitolina was her 101st in singles at the U.S. Open, equaling Chris Evert’s total. Serena also has broken the record held by her sister, Venus, for the longest time between first and most recent appearances in a grand slam final: 19 years and 362 days.
Bianca Andreescu will only be only 19 years and 99 days old when they meet in the final. The Canadian teenager has enjoyed a meteoric rise since losing in the first round of qualifying for the U.S. Open last year.
Andreescu has won at Indian Wells and Toronto on hard courts in the interim.
“It’s just surreal,” Andreescu said. “I really don’t know what to say. It’s a dream come true playing against Serena in the finals of the U.S. Open. I don’t know what to say. It’s crazy. It’s crazy.”
While Serena is the odds-on favourite to oblige on Saturday her record in recent grand slam finals has been a shadow of her earlier career form. Serena reached the 21 career slam mark from just 25 final appearances.
Getting to the 23 title mark has taken seven visits to finals, where she has lost five. Serena Williams has lost all three she has played since returning to the game last year after the birth of a daughter in September 2017.
Serena and her team are obviously aware of the enormity of the task and the venue using various communication stragies over the course fo the tournament to talk up or down the potential achievement as appropriate.
After the semi-final win, she claimed to be very relaxed. “Is this the best opportunity?” Williams said. “I don’t know. I literally haven’t thought about it this tournament. I’ve been way too chill.”
For the fourth time in just 14 months, Williams has another chance — on the court where she has won six singles titles, the same court where she lost her composure against Osaka a year ago.
Serena will equal Margaret Court's record, but it will be an outright open-era record due to 13 of Court's titles coming prior to 1968. Whether she does claim the record or not on Saturday, Serena is way too "chill" to be concerned about the numbers.