Serena Williams swept into her second straight US Open final with a crushing 6-1, 6-2 victory Friday over Italy's Sara Errani in just 1 hour and 4 minutes.
But it took Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova 2 hours and 42 minutes to settle their differences in a high-velocity, high-volume match that eventually went to Azarenka, the Belarussian world No. 1, 3-6, 6-2, 6-4.
If anyone had thought to sell ear muffs outside Arthur Ashe Stadium, they would have done a roaring trade.
Azarenka and Sharapova are the game's two biggest shriekers and, for some, they produce such a high-pitched cacophony of sound when playing each other that the whole experience becomes unbearable.
A pity, because this was a compelling duel, laced with some amazing rallies and sudden changes of fortune. It was a match Azarenka deserved to win, but Sharapova could have won -- and, on her record of not having lost a three-set match since last year's US Open (12 in all) would have been expected to win.