Serena Williams looked almost vulnerable in her quarterfinal match against No. 23 Victoria Azarenka. Almost, but not really. Williams dropped the first set but then stormed back to win the final two sets with relative ease, including a run of seven consecutive games to end the second set and start the third on her way to a 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory.
Azarenka was able to control the first set with her serve, getting her first serve in 72% of the time and winning 83% of those points. She earned her only break of Williams' serve in that set and appeared in control of the match, particularly during long rallies. That all changed once the second set began.
Williams won the final four games of the second set and the first three of the third, which essentially put the match away. Williams' first serve just became too much for Azarenka and in the third set she won 17-of-19 points when she got her first serve in -- including nine aces. Azarenka was constantly trying to get herself pumped up after points and games, but she just didn't have enough during the points to match Serena.
Williams was as efficient as she was powerful, hitting 41 winners to just nine unforced errors. The slow start seemed to wake Williams up and pushed her to play some of the best tennis we've seen out of her this entire tournament.
The semifinal matchup between Williams and No. 4 Maria Sharapova is now set for Thursday. It will be Williams' 28th career Grand Slam semifinal and she has a 24-3 record in the previous 27. Williams is 17-2 in her career against Sharapova, including 16 straight wins.