Part of complete coverage on
Serena Williams sets up U.S. Open final rematch with Victoria Azarenka
September 6, 2013 -- Updated 2351 GMT (0751 HKT)
U.S. Open titleholder Serena Williams celebrates after defeating China's Li Na at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York.
- Serena Williams reaches seventh U.S. Open final, beating fifth seed Li Na
- American will play world No. 2 Victoria Azarenka in Sunday's final
- Azarenka defeats 83rd-ranked Flavia Pennetta in opening semifinal
- She lost to Williams in last year's title match at Flushing Meadows
(CNN) -- World No. 1 Serena Williams will play second-ranked Victoria Azarenka in a rematch of last year's U.S. Open final on Sunday as she attempts to become the oldest winner of the New York grand slam.
The American blew away the hopes of Li Na, who had been hoping to become the first Chinese player to contest the title match of the hard-court event, as she triumphed 6-0 6-3 in Friday's second semifinal.
The defending champion, who turns 32 at the end of this month, made a blistering start against Li but the fifth seed battled back in the second set -- Williams required seven match-points to reach her seventh U.S. Open final.
She has won four of those, suffering defeat in 2001 and 2011.
"I got a little nervous there at the end but I was able to close it out," Williams told the crowd.
Serena Williams faces test in U.S. Open
King still fights for tennis equality
Tennis stars help Sandy victims
"I'm excited to be in another final. We always have really good matches.
"Vika's a great player and she lifts her game when it counts. I think that's what makes the difference."
Williams has lost just four times this year -- two of those to Azarenka -- and dropped only 16 games in 12 sets on the way to the final.
The Belorussian was largely untroubled in reaching her fourth grand slam final, beating Italian underdog Flavia Pennetta 6-4 6-2 in a match marred by service struggles for both players.
Pennetta, ranked 83rd in the world, was playing in her first major semifinal but had a 1-1 record against Azarenka.
"It's been a long road to the final and it's an amazing feeling to come out here and fight for that trophy on Sunday -- I'm definitely giving myself the best chance for my dreams here," said the two-time Australian Open winner, who has a 12-3 losing record against Williams.
"Today was a great match, a lot of emotions. I think the turning point was when I finally held my serve and won the first set. I stayed tough and played really well on return games and on important moments.
"Flavia's such a great fighter, getting to every ball, so I really had to keep my focus in the match."
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 1252 GMT (2052 HKT)
As a player he was as fiery as his hair -- and as Novak Djokovic's coach, Boris Becker says he has to battle to keep his emotions in check.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 1102 GMT (1902 HKT)
Tennis great Boris Becker says he was stunned by the level of criticism he received after being appointed as Novak Djokovic's coach.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 1101 GMT (1901 HKT)
"I didn't cry once when I practiced in front of the mirror," says Martin Emmrich. But the nerves kicked in when he got down on one knee on court.
June 30, 2014 -- Updated 1135 GMT (1935 HKT)
When Agnieszka Radwanska refused to look her opponent in the eye after losing at Wimbledon, it raised more than eyebrows.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 0114 GMT (0914 HKT)
It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
Rafael Nadal is still the "King of Clay" -- but his crown has slipped a bit, says CNN's Will Edmonds.
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 0746 GMT (1546 HKT)
He's regularly voted France's favorite famous person, but many of the nation's youth have "no idea" about his glorious sporting past
May 5, 2014 -- Updated 2359 GMT (0759 HKT)
The Ukrainian-born, British tennis star loses fight against liver cancer, just a few weeks after revealing that she was battling the disease.
April 29, 2014 -- Updated 1555 GMT (2355 HKT)
Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1238 GMT (2038 HKT)
It's no easy matter becoming a world class tennis player. It's even harder when everyone (really -- everyone) is calling you the "new Martina Hingis."
April 2, 2014 -- Updated 1420 GMT (2220 HKT)
At the 2009 Australian Open, French men's tennis was the talk of the town.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1800 GMT (0200 HKT)
Rafael Nadal may be most at home on a clay tennis court, but he has always found comfort on the sea.