Serena into US Open semi-finals as champion Stephens exits

Serena into US Open semi-finals as champion Stephens exits

Serena into US Open semi-finals as champion Stephens exits

Williams moved into the U.S. Open semifinals with a convincing 6-4, 6-3 victory Tuesday night over Karolina Pliskova at Arthur Ashe Stadium. But she has never played Williams.

Williams broke back and soon assumed complete and utter control, reeling off eight games in a row to all but seal the tie before staving off a late Pliskova fight back to win 6-4 6-6.

With her older sister, Venus - the woman she beat in the third round - in her guest box, Williams looked tight. If she goes on to win this tournament, she will become the second Latvian to win a grand slam event, after Jelena Ostapenko, who won the French Open in 2017.

The confident Williams got some measure of revenge for her 2016 semifinal loss against the Czech as she continues to climb her way back to the top after the birth of her first child a year ago.

World number one Nadal will seek to continue his US Open title defense, taking on Thiem for a place in the semi-finals.

Two years later, she is anything but a dark horse as she gets set to face Williams again in what will be her sixth major quarterfinal in her last nine attempts. "I don't think there's any change with her game".

'I just want to be able to get past the semis here.

She had assumed she would play tennis until her early 30s and have made enough money to be financially sound, if not set for life. I was thinking I can play better.

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And after claiming the final two games in the first, she continued in a similar vein in the second, breaking Pliskova to 0 in the second game and moving 4-0 up.

Williams already proved at Wimbledon that she is capable of the sort of dominant performances she has shown over the years, making all the way to the final at the All England Club before losing.

Pliskova, who managed to convert just two of 12 break point chances in the contest, said Williams was simply too good in the important moments.

Spain's double Grand Slam victor Garbine Murgurza was next to go, making a second round exit, and then earlier on Tuesday Williams side-stepped a semi-final showdown with third seed Sloane Stephens when the defending champion was sent packing by Anastasija Sevastova. The first time, Williams had arrived in NY in search of the calendar grand slam - an extraordinary feat last achieved by Steffi Graf in 1988.

The second set was far more comfortable for the 17-seeded Williams.

"In the beginning, maybe she was a little bit nervous", Pliskova said. "But then I was unfortunately struck with a lot of injuries, which made me retire after a few years". Then, down 3-1, she faced three break points; if Pliskova won any, she would have led 4-1. "I kind of go out there and I just do the best that I can".

'When I get to a Grand Slam, in a major, I just want to play really hard and do really well.

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