Nine-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams will meet the French Open runner-up Dinara Safina in the final of the 2009 Australian Open.
Williams put Elena Dementieva's 15-match winning streak to an end, defeating the Russian 6-3 6-4 in the semifinals. In-form Dementieva had been undefeated this year and she even beat Williams two weeks ago in Sydney, plus, the Russian won their last three meetings.
Despite everything, powerful Williams can always step up on Grand Slam stage and keep her cool. Dementieva double-faulted eight times, while Williams made no double faults.The American hit 27 winners – including 10 aces – to 18 winners from the Russian. She even rallied from behind in the second set, trailing 3-0 before winning six of seven games.
"A perfect match for me? Oh, no, no, no. But it was definitely better," said Williams after the match.
In the other semifinal, Dinara Safina defeated fellow Russian Vera Zvonareva 6-3 7-6(4). The combination of Safina's heavier shot-making and aggression proved too much for Zvonareva.
Whoever wins Saturday's singles final – Serena Williams or Dinara Safina – will take the No.1 ranking position from Jelena Jankovic.
Serena Williams on possible return to No.1:
"That would be just a bonus. But my goal isn't to be number one, my goal is to win one more match here at the Australian Open."
Dinara Safina on the possibility of being top-ranked for the first time:
"Since I was growing up it has been my dream one day to be number one. To play against Serena and to fight for the number one is just going to be unbelievable."
I believe Serena is big favorite to win this final. She’s feeling comfortable on Grand Slam stage, having played Grand Slam finals many times, and having won the Australian Open three times already (2003, 2005, 2007). Also, she’s 5-1 against Safina and has won all their four meetings on hardcourts, including the last two of their clashes. (sources: Reuters, Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, photos: Getty Images)