Mon | Mar 27, 2017

Pals play for US Open trophy

Published:Sunday | September 7, 2014 | 9:00 AM

NEW YORK (AP):

Back in May, in the aftermath of early losses for both at the French Open, good friends Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki, who also was about a week removed from the end of her engagement to golf's Rory McIlroy, flew from Paris to Miami and hung out.

They went to the beach, to an NBA playoff game, and posted photos of the good times on social media.

"Serena is a fun girl. She's so nice to hang out with. Always makes me laugh and makes everyone around her laugh," Wozniacki said. "Definitely a very inspiring person to be around."

A few months later, here Williams and Wozniacki are, back at the top of their tennis games and back together, facing one another today for the US Open championship.

So when they were palling around in Florida, did they discuss the idea of turning their seasons around?

"No. Not at all. Not even once," said Williams, who is bidding for Grand Slam trophy No. 18, and US Open title No. 6, including three in a row.

"We never talked tennis so much, since we spend so much of our lives on the court. Same with me and (older sister) Venus. Last thing on our minds is tennis. If anything, it's to NOT think about a forehand or a backhand."

They did chat right before play began at Flushing Meadows, noting that the draw placed the top-seeded Williams and 10th-seeded Wozniacki on opposite sides of the bracket.

Williams has not dropped a set the past two weeks while stretching her US Open winning streak to 20 matches. But she lost in the fourth round at the Australian Open, the second round at the French Open, and the third round at Wimbledon.

Wozniacki, whose reputation as a counter-puncher is a complete contrast to Williams' power-based style, exited in the third round at the Australian Open and Wimbledon, and the first round at the French Open.

Here's a key difference: Williams is not used to leaving such tournaments so early. She's reached at least one Grand Slam final in each of the past eight seasons, winning 10 major titles in that span. Wozniacki, meanwhile, will be participating in only the second major final of her career; she lost to Kim Clijsters at the 2009 US Open.