Williams speeds up for final

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CHARLESTON, S.C. --- Serena Williams overcame a slow start to defeat unseeded Alize Cornet of France 7-5, 6-3 on Saturday to advance to the finals of the Family Circle Cup.

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Serena Williams grimaces as she hits a backhand during her 7-5, 6-3 victory over Alize Cornet during the semifinals of the Family Circle Cup on Saturday.  Associated Press
Associated Press
Serena Williams grimaces as she hits a backhand during her 7-5, 6-3 victory over Alize Cornet during the semifinals of the Family Circle Cup on Saturday.

Williams, ranked No. 9 in the world, and seeded fifth this week, is looking for her third tournament title of the year.

She will face ninth-seeded Vera Zvonareva in today's final of the $1.3 million tournament. Zvonareva defeated Elena Dementieva 6-3, 6-7 (2), 6-3.

Williams trailed 4-1 in the first set, but fought back, breaking Cornet twice at love before taking the set. In a second set featuring long baseline rallies, Williams broke Cornet in the eighth game, then held serve at love to take the match.

"In just the whole match I thought she played really well, and I just wasn't playing my game," said Williams who with the win guaranteed she will surpass the $19 million mark in career earnings. "I got caught a little bit on the defensive a lot and I wasn't doing anything I should have been doing."

Cornet, an 18-year-old ranked No. 40 in the world, also made the semifinals at Amelia Island last week. She was runner-up earlier this year at Acapulco, her best showing on the tour which she joined last year.

Saturday was the first time she faced Williams.

"It was a little bit of a surprise for her because she didn't know me," Cornet said. "I was like making the pressure on her and it was working and after 4-1, you know, she played better."

Cornet said she has learned a lesson by reaching two consecutive semifinals.

"I have to fight and I have to play my game, and I think I have the level now for beating the best, so it's a lot of confidence for me," she said.

Williams said she will surely be facing Cornet again.

"She gets a lot of balls back, and those kind of players are usually around for a good 20 years," Williams said.


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