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Page last updated at 22:25 GMT, Friday, 5 September 2008 23:25 UK

Serena to face Jankovic in final

Serena Williams is trying to win her first US Open title since 2002
Serena Williams is trying to win her first US Open title since 2002

Serena Williams will face Jelena Jankovic in the US Open final after the pair came through testing conditions to win their semi-finals on Friday.

Second seed Jankovic beat Olympic champion Elena Dementieva 6-4 6-4 to reach her first Grand Slam final.

And Williams coped far better than Dinara Safina with the gusty winds at Flushing Meadows as she won the second semi-final, 6-3 6-2.

The women's final is scheduled for Saturday but bad weather is forecast.

Dementieva, who was a runner-up at Flushing Meadows four years ago, came into the tournament on the back of her Olympic gold.

And she carried that confidence into the early stages of the first semi-final, breaking immediately and moving 4-2 up by dominating from the baseline.

At this point, though, the unforced errors began to flow from the Russian and she ended the match with 42, to 22 from Jankovic.

I have played in five semi-finals and to be in the final for first time in a Grand Slam is unbelievable

Jelena Jankovic

World number two Jankovic reeled off four consecutive games to take the first set, although there was some mild controversy when she appeared to deliberately disrupt the Dementieva serve on set point by reaching for her towel.

The early stages of the second set saw both players struggling desperately on serve, and when Jankovic managed to hold for 4-3 it felt like a decisive moment.

Two games later, Dementieva had to hold serve to stay alive and she failed miserably, handing over two errors and a double fault before firing a forehand long on the second match point.

"I have tears in my eyes," said Jankovic. "I have played in five semi-finals and to be in the final for first time in a Grand Slam is unbelievable. I'm thrilled."

Dementieva admitted: "I just feel like I did too many unforced errors today. She was playing very solid, very safe, especially in the conditions, on a windy day.

"So she was trying to do everything, and I just was trying to go for the winner and couldn't make it."

Jelena Jankovic
Jankovic has gone one better than her run to the semi-finals in 2006

The second semi-final followed a similar pattern to the first as Williams dropped her opening service game before wrestling control from Safina.

Despite reaching the final in six of her last seven tournaments, including a first Grand Slam final at the French Open, Safina was undone by the experience of Williams.

The eight-time Grand Slam winner is looking for her third US Open title, but she has not won in New York since 2002 and appears desperate to end that barren run.

A picture of calm in comparison with her opponent, Williams dealt superbly with the wind as an increasingly frustrated Safina produced a stream of errors.

Williams broke for a 5-3 lead and staved off a break point in the following game with a bold move to the net before serving out.

Safina then let a 40-0 lead slip to drop serve at the start of the second set and Williams' greater solidity from the baseline, plus her ability to attack the net, proved too much for the Russian.

The 1999 and 2002 champion eased into a 5-1 lead and closed out the match with a big serve, setting up a final that will also decide who takes the number one ranking.

"I thought, OK, if it's so windy then I'm not going to go for so many winners and stay out here and do what I can," said Williams.

She added: "It's so awesome. I'm just happy to be finally back in the finals. For once, an American back in the finals here so I'm really excited."

Safina admitted: "I think I was behaving like a really spoilt girl today. I have to learn from these things if I want to get better.

"If I want to make one step in front, I have to learn to handle my emotions better."



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see also
US Open day 12 photos
05 Sep 08 |  Tennis
Serena & Jankovic ready for final
06 Sep 08 |  Tennis
Rain threatens Murray semi-final
05 Sep 08 |  Tennis
Safina v Serena as it happened
05 Sep 08 |  Tennis
Dementieva v Jankovic as it happened
05 Sep 08 |  Tennis
Order of play
23 May 08 |  Tennis
Men's singles draw
26 Aug 11 |  Tennis
Women's singles draw
28 Jan 10 |  Tennis
Tennis on the BBC
19 Jun 08 |  Tennis


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