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That Serena Williams can pack a punch

NEW YORK -- Saturday night's semifinal featured the best defender among WTA players versus the biggest hitter. Caroline Wozniacki rose to the No. 1 ranking by consistently keeping the ball in the court and watching her opponents eventually miss. Serena Williams hits it harder than anyone in history.

The question, essentially, was this: Could Wozniacki hang around long enough in points to force Serena to hit enough unforced errors to keep her in the match?

Not so much.

Offense, as we have seen recently in the NFL, usually seems to trump defense. Williams knocked Wozniacki off the court at Arthur Ashe Stadium 6-2, 6-4.

Afterward, she launched into a gyrating, pogo-sticking leap for joy.

"I'm so happy," Williams said. "Especially with 9/11, to be an American and still in the tournament. I really want to play tomorrow on such a special day for America.

"It's been such an arduous, long road. I can't believe it."

Williams, a three-time U.S. Open champion, plays Samantha Stosur -- a three-set winner over Angelique Kerber earlier -- in the Sunday afternoon final. It will be quite a surprise if she doesn't emerge with her fourth title.

Serena -- who missed nearly a year with a variety of daunting medical issues -- is the 28th seed here, but was nevertheless the pre-tournament favorite. When some of the big names started bowing out early, her stock rose even higher. Williams:

• Was the only woman left in the final four that had actually won a Grand Slam singles title (she has 13).

• Has yet to lose a set in six matches.

• Stands 18-0 when playing a hard-court match this summer.

In the first set, Serena hit a robust 19 unforced errors. But she hit 15 winners. Wozniacki had none. For the match, aces were 11 to 1 for Serena. Being on the wrong end of that kind of disparity isn't going to win you a Grand Slam match.

The only real drama all night came after the fifth game when Serena's right shoe was taken off … to reveal a plausibly mangled foot. She took a lot of heat for pulling out of the event in Cincinnati -- and showing up a few days later at Kim Kardashian's Los Angeles wedding -- but this looked serious. The foot was wrapped with enough gauze to cover several mummies and -- shades of Curt Schilling's bloody sock -- there appeared to be blood seeping through.

Despite the injury, Serena had a novel strategy against Wozniacki.

"Usually I only come up to the net to shake hands," Williams said. "Today I said, 'Let's try something.'"

Serena won 17 of the 21 points when she came to net.

Where does Wozniacki go from here? Asia, China and Turkey, where she'll probably win more tournaments and keep her No. 1 ranking through the end of the year. She has already been No. 1 for 47 weeks, the longest run ever for someone without a major victory.

And Serena? She'll come out Sunday to face Stosur, who beat her a year ago in the quarterfinals of the French Open.

"I think that's obviously a big, you know, confidence booster if I end up playing her to know that I have been able to do it in a major tournament," Stosur said earlier. "But every tournament is new, and she's obviously been playing extremely well and wants to ... she comes back, and I'm sure it's always to win Grand Slam titles."

Greg Garber is a senior writer for ESPN.com.