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Serena Williams cruises past Ekaterina Makarova to reach Open final

Serena Williams rejoices after defeating Ekaterina Makarova in

Serena Williams rejoices after defeating Ekaterina Makarova in straight sets 6-1, 6-3, in their women's semifinals match at the U.S. Open Tennis Championships at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing on Sept. 5, 2014. Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

In Serena Williams' quest for a third straight U.S. Open title and 18th major championship, Ekaterina Makarova was little more than a speed bump Friday.

Williams hammered Makarova, 6-1, 6-3, in the second semifinal at Ashe Stadium, earning her a final matchup with Caroline Wozniacki on Sunday.

Williams was full throttle Friday, from serve to whip forehand to heavy backhand. Makarova, who made her first-ever appearance in a Slam semifinal, could only express awe.

"Serena, she is a great, unbelievable player," Makarova said. "Today she was so aggressive. I don't know, maybe I didn't think she will be that aggressive. Like she's coming so early. So sometimes I was too late because she was too fast."

Williams and Makarova had not lost a set in reaching the semis. Williams' run here, while not surprising, comes after a Grand Slam season in which she had failed to get past the fourth round.

She looked back at her third-round loss to Alize Cornet at Wimbledon as a steppingstone to another championship season.

"I really worked hard for Wimbledon," she said Friday. "I was really disappointed and sad and shocked that I wasn't able to win. I worked hours more than I worked before. Maybe it's just now paying off."

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