Serena Williams was a US Open champion before Amanda Anisimova was born. On Saturday in Auckland, the 38-year-old—who once said there's no way she'd be playing at this age—showed her rising countrywoman she is still a force to be reckoned with.
The 23-time major champion overpowered the 2019 French Open semifinalist, 6-1, 6-1, in the pair's first meeting. Serena converted all five of her break points to cruise into the final after just 44 minutes of work against Anisimova. There, she will face Jessica Pegula, another opponent she's never faced across the net.
"Long rallies, short rallies, power players, the elements," said Serena. This is exactly what I needed going into the Australian Open,.
Serena is looking to capture her first title since winning the 2017 Australian Open against her sister Venus Williams. She has contested five finals since returning in February of 2018 following the birth of daughter Alexis Olympia, but has fallen at the final hurdle each time—four in major finals.
"It would mean a lot to me," Serena responded, when asked how she felt about possibly winning Auckland. "I’ve just been working hard for the past couple years, putting everything together, so we’re just keeping it going."
Pegula thwarted Caroline Wozniacki's hopes of potentially walking away with two pieces of hardware this week in her penultimate tournament. The 25-year-old American created openings by stepping into the court and making her way into the net to post a 3-6, 6-4, 6-0 victory against the No. 5 seed.
Pegula is through to her first final since July, when she dismissed Camila Giorgi in Washington, D.C. to hold up her first WTA trophy.
Wozniacki will turn her attention to the doubles final, where she and Serena will meet American duo Asia Muhammad and Taylor Townsend, who took out compatriots Coco Gauff and Caty McNally, 6-1, 7-5, earlier on Saturday.