Auckland International: Serena Williams hammers Amanda Anisimova to reach final

Serena Williams
Serena Williams is searching for her first singles title since the 2017 Australian Open

Serena Williams thrashed fellow American Amanda Anisimova in just 43 minutes to reach the final of the Auckland Classic.

The 23-time Grand Slam singles champion, searching for her first title since the 2017 Australian Open, hammered the 18-year-old 6-1 6-1.

Williams, 38, will face Jessica Pegula in the final after the unseeded American overcame Williams' doubles partner Caroline Wozniacki.

Pegula beat the Dane 3-6 6-4 6-0.

Williams will feature in two finals in one day when she and Wozniacki play in the doubles final on Sunday.

Should the American win either, it will be her first title since becoming a mother.

She played aggressively against 2019 French Open semi-finalist Anisimova, hitting five aces, converting all five of her break points and winning 77% of first serves.

"I knew I was playing a really great player and an even better person and I knew I had to come out serious," Williams said.

"My daughter's only two - I tend to be really hard on myself but considering everything, I'm doing pretty good."

In the Brisbane International, Karolina Pliskova reached the final with a victory over Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka.

Defending champion Pliskova, who is second in the world rankings, fought back to beat world number four Osaka 6-7 (10-12) 7-6 (7-3) 6-2.

She will play American Madison Keys on Sunday after Keys beat two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 3-6 6-2 6-3.

World number one Ashleigh Barty will feature in Sunday's doubles final with Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands.

Barty is donating all her prize money from Brisbane to the bushfire relief fund - she has already donated her A$32,129 (£16,955) second-round singles prize money to the cause.

Barty and Bertens will face Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova in the final.

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