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Williams advances to Australian Open final

Williams advances to Australian Open final

Unseeded and ranked No. 81, Serena Williams made it back into a Grand Slam final with a 7-6 (5), 6-4 win Thursday over Nicole Vaidisova at the Australian Open.
Williams, a seven-time Grand Slam singles titlist, weathered Vaidisova's stinging forehands and gave back plenty of her own, sometimes surprising the 17-year-old Czech player with her speed around the court and the pace of her ball.
After leading 5-1 in the second, she needed six match points before sealing it with an overhead in 1 hour, 46 minutes.
"Yahooo!" she said, laughing and celebrating the win.
Williams won two of her seven majors at Melbourne Park and is only one win away from an improbable title.
She played only four tournaments in 2006, finishing the season 12-4 and without a title. Williams was the ninth-lowest ranked player to make a Grand Slam semifinal since computer rankings were introduced in 1975. And, if she wins, she would be only the second unseeded player to win the Australian title in the Open era.
Vaidisova broke Williams' serve in the first game and was dictating early rallies until Williams broke back to level at 3-3.
The pair traded breaks late in the set, with Vaidisova going ahead 5-4 and having a set point on serve before Williams rallied to break back and force a tiebreaker.
The 25-year-old American led 5-1 in the tiebreaker but allowed Vaidisova back to 5-5, serving consecutive double-faults.
She set up set point with a backhand winner and let out a powerful "gggrrrr" after Vaidisova dumped a forehand into the net.
Williams broke Vaidisova twice and took a 5-1 lead in the second set but the No. 10 seed rallied and won four straight games, saving four match points to hold the ninth game.
Williams thought she had won it on match point No. 5, but Vaidisova's backhand crosscourt was called in. Williams fired an ace to get another match point and made no mistake with the next.
She will play the winner of top-seeded Maria Sharapova and No. 4 Kim Clijsters in Saturday's championship match.


Updated : 2021-06-12 20:23 GMT+08:00