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Serena uses tips from Venus to reach US final

September 06, 2008 15:06 IST

Serena Williams applied some coaching tips from older sister Venus in her 6-3 6-2 thumping of sixth-seeded Dinara Safina on Friday that put the American into the finals of the US Open.

"She gave me a lot of advice for this match," the 26-year-old Serena said about Venus, who cheered her on from the players' box. "She gave me a lot of advice in what to do and how to play.

"Venus is a really smart player. She's an extremely smart player. She knows how to read people very well. She gave me some advice on what to do and how to play and what to expect."

Serena did not have to fight nearly as hard as she had in her quarter-final slugfest against Venus that was decided in two tiebreaker sets.

"I feel that Venus is my toughest opponent ever. You know, nothing against Dinara, I think she's been playing really incredible.

"But I just think Venus is just an amazing player. I feel like Venus was playing the best in this tournament."

Fourth seed Serena's triumph over Safina in gusting winds at Arthur Ashe Stadium put her into the US final for the first time since 2002, when she won her second Open crown.

The eight-times slam winner will be the first American in the women's final since then and a championship victory against second seed Jelena Jankovic of Serbia would give Serena the number one ranking again for the first time in five years.

"Number one is not my goal right now," Serena said. "I know I'll get that eventually if I continue to play the tournaments. I just want to be able to win the grand slams, and play and stay healthy. I think the ranking will definitely come."

Williams got some extra satisfaction in beating the 22-year-old Russian, who had been red-hot with six trips to the finals in her last seven events, and who defeated Serena in their last meeting in May.

"She's been playing so well this summer. She beat me in Berlin and I really was not very happy about that," said Serena, who this year has made more of a commitment to getting into top shape and playing more tournaments.

"I definitely wanted to go up against (who) I think is the best player this summer."

Serena won her first grand slam singles at the 1999 Open.

"It feels like a long time ago," she said, adding after a pause, "It doesn't really. Actually it doesn't feel like that long ago, but when I look, it's almost been 10 years. That's kind of weird."

Serena said looking back on her last Flushing Meadows triumph of 2002 also felt strange.

"That seems even longer. I really don't even remember that one. I don't remember anything about that."

Still, Serena is not surprised to be battling again for grand slam supremacy.

"I've always felt like my game is suited to withstand a long time and play for years and years. I feel like I just started again."

(Editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Larry Fine
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