Williams back in US Open semifinals

Associated Press Modified: September 5, 2012 at 9:51 pm •  Published: September 5, 2012
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NEW YORK (AP) — Serena Williams shared a thought the other three semifinalists in the U.S. Open certainly won't want to hear.

"I feel like I'm going to get more focused and serious and start playing 'Serena tennis,'" she said.

Whatever brand she's been playing so far has been pretty good, too.

Fourth-seeded Williams served 12 aces Wednesday night to bring her total to 41 for the tournament and move to the semifinals with a typically overpowering victory, 6-1, 6-3 over Ana Ivanovic.

Williams got 29 first serves in and won the point on 26 of them. She faced two break points and saved both of them. She has lost a total of 16 games through five matches. When No. 12 Ivanovic held serve to make it 3-1 in the first, it snapped a string of 23 straight games Williams had won, starting at the end of her third-round match last Saturday.

"I think the quality of tennis compared to last year, it was much higher, I think from both of us," said Ivanovic, a 6-3, 6-4 loser to Williams in the fourth round last year. "I mean, she was serving unbelievable. She was hardly missing serves. That puts a lot of pressure on opponents' own service games."

Next up for Williams, 10th-seeded Sara Errani, a 6-2, 6-4 winner over her Italian doubles partner, Roberta Vinci. Errani will be the first Italian woman in the tournament since the Open era began in 1968.

On paper, that semifinal looks like a mismatch, with 5-foot-4 Errani's serve maxing out at 81 mph Wednesday, while 5-9 Williams was consistently in the 110s. But Errani is the French Open runner-up and has lifted her ranking into the top 10 after starting the year at 45.

"A lot will depend on her," Errani said about the matchup. "I will try to play my game, try to get her off balance. I still need to study up and prepare."

Also advancing Wednesday was third-seeded Maria Sharapova, who was trailing 4-0 when play resumed after being suspended because of rain Tuesday. Given nearly 24 hours to think about things, Sharapova rallied for a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory over No. 11 Marion Bartoli. She improved to 12-0 in three-setters this year.

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