Serena Williams is one step closer to scratching one more item off of her “bucket list.”
The 16-time grand slam champion survived two tight sets Saturday night against China’s Li Na to advance to her first Cincinnati Open final—dethroning the defending champion, 7-5, 7-5.
In the second set of the match it appeared that Williams had sustained some type of abdominal injury. During breaks between points she massaged her abdominal area and served gingerly, often reducing her serve speeds to around 80 mph.
Nevertheless, Serena played through the apparent injury, moving well and hitting shots that penetrated the court.
“It started a couple days ago,” Williams said of the abdominal injury during a post-match interview with ESPN. “I’ve had so many injuries. I give it 200 percent when I’m out there…I give it my all.”
After the match, Williams learned that she was the winner of the women's Emirates Airline U.S. Open Series Bonus Challenge, much to her delight. If she can successfully defend her title at this year’s U.S. Open ,Serena will earn an additional $1 million. Williams could become the first female athlete to reach the $50 million mark in career prize money.
In the championship final on Sunday, Serena will face Victoria Azarenka of Belarus—a former world No.1.
Kevin Don Porter is a contributor for CBS Local-DC and author of MISSING -- a new YA mystery novel available on Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com. Visit his website at www.kevindonporter.com. Friend him on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter: @kevindonporter.