Serena Williams and Lucie Safarova Roll into the Family Circle Cup Final

A former champion at the Family Circle Cup in Charleston, Samantha Stosur is usually pretty comfortable on the tournament’s green clay. She was in fine form on Friday, winning two three set singles matches to set up an exciting semifinal against Serena Williams. Adamant that physical fatigue did not play a role in Saturday’s match, the 2011 US Open champion won just two games against the American, who won the match 6-1 6-1.

Serena Williams seemed to do no wrong in this match. Every serve, every shot just seemed perfect, far too good for Stosur to overcome. Clearly in the zone, Williams seemed emotionless for the better part of the match, just going through the motions, winning point after point. When she won the first set 6-1, there was no fist pump, just a determined walk back to her chair. When she broke early in the second set, she did a sort of spin, but that was more a force of momentum rather than an actual celebration. Asked about Serena’s level of play in post match press, Stosur said, “it didn’t really seem to matter what I did. She came out with the goods every time.” Even Williams was a little shocked at how well she’s been playing this week, given that she only practiced for one day on the clay prior to the beginning of the tournament. In fact, she considered Saturday’s match, “probably the best match I’ve played in my career either in a long time or it’s up there in the Top 5.”

This version of Serena is basically unstoppable. Stosur is an excellent clay court player, a Grand Slam Champion, and in the Top 5 in the world. Williams made her look like an amateur, happy just to have gotten those two games.

Polona Hercog would have likely been equally as happy to win two games in her semifinal against Lucie Safarova. The Czech has been having an excellent week in Charleston, beating Vera Zvonareva in the quarterfinals before dropping a double bagel on Hercog in the semis. Hercog is no Stosur, and Safarova is no Williams, but it was a pretty impressive beat down nonetheless. Coming back a little over an hour later, Safarova teamed up with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to beat Lisa Raymond and Liezel Huber and land a spot in the doubles final. Safarova described the feeling of being in both finals as, “just the dream of the player to be.” Reluctant to call this the best week of her career quite yet, she did put it up there with making the finals in Paris and the quarterfinals of the Australian Open.

Safarova is aware Sunday’s final will be difficult, having played Williams four times, all of which she lost. Their most recent encounter was last year in Toronto. Asked about the challenge, Safarova responded, “I’m really looking forward to it, and we had some tough matches in the past, so I never beat her so far, but as I said, I played good here. I feel good, and I’ll try to win tomorrow.” There’s nothing like a 6-0 6-0 victory to boost a player’s confidence, so Lucie Safarova should be going into the final in the best position she could. In all honesty, the key to the match for Safarova will be capitalizing in the event that Serena has an off day or lets her guard down. If Williams plays the way she did against Stosur, there will be little Safarova can do to combat her.