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September 20, 2017

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Serena to take on lucky Vandeweghe at Bank of the West

STANFORD, California -- Serena Williams overpowered Romania's Sorana Cirstea 6-1, 6-2 in the Bank of the West Classic on Saturday to set up the first all-American WTA final on home soil in eight years.

Exactly a week after winning her fifth Wimbledon title, Williams cruised to another victory in 60 minutes. The quick work came despite Williams converting only 38 percent of her first serves.

She will go for her second-straight title at Stanford on Sunday against lucky loser Coco Vandeweghe, who reached her first WTA Tour final with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 victory against Belgium's Yanina Wickmayer.

The last all-American final at home on the WTA Tour came in 2004, when Lindsay Davenport topped Williams in Los Angeles.

"Everybody's always asking about American players," Williams said. "Now we have a great player like Coco who's doing well and she took her second chance to the ultimate degree."

"I'm so glad she's American. If she goes all the way and wins (Sunday), I would be really, really happy for her."

Still jet-lagged from traveling more than 5,000 miles (8,000 kilometers) and eight time zones from the All England Club, Williams delivered her most impressive performance of the week.

The 14-time Grand Slam champion slammed serves and flicked forehands on every line, never needing to move much, turning the semifinal into an Olympic practice session.

After hitting 102 aces on her way to victory on Wimbledon's grass, however, Williams had more double faults (four) than aces (three). Then again, her opponent had twice as many double faults (eight) as aces (four).

"I really wasn't happy," Williams said. "I did what was necessary to win. I did what I knew I needed to do, and I think that's important."

Serving could be the deciding factor in the final.

Vandeweghe broke Wickmayer in the opening game and pounded 12 total aces with a serve that topped 120 mph. She also won 31 of 36 points on her first serve.

Vandeweghe failed to make it out of qualifying but got into the main draw as a lucky loser when Serbia's Bojana Jovanovski withdrew with an injury. The American has made the most of the opportunity.

"It's a dream come true for me being in the finals of a WTA event," Vandeweghe said. "Hopefully this is a good omen for the rest of the summer for me."

The 20-year-old had never even made a WTA semifinal until she knocked off Urszula Radwanska of Poland 6-4, 6-4 a day earlier.

The last lucky loser to advance to a WTA final was runner-up Melinda Czink in 2005 at Canberra, Australia.

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