Semi-finalist Serena says still long way to go at US Open

Sep 08, 2018, 04:15
Semi-finalist Serena says still long way to go at US Open

Serena Williams of the United States serves to Karolina Pliskova of Czech Republic in a quarter-final match on day nine of the 2018 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

That fact alone - coupled with her win over Venus in a match both sisters called the best since Serena's return - is reason to believe that Williams is playing at a level, mentally, physically and emotionally, that can carry her through a semifinal matchup with No. 19 Anastasija Sevastova and into Saturday's final - and possibly the record books once again.

Defending champion Sloane Stephens lost her quarterfinal match, 6-2, 6-3, in the brutal afternoon heat to No. 19 seed Anastasija Sevastova, the same Latvian woman she beat in three sets in the quarterfinal previous year en route to her first Grand Slam title.

Williams emphatically claimed this quarter-final win by serving for the match and hitting three aces then an overhead smash.

The six-time USA champion won eight games in a row - four at the end of the first and four at the start of the second - to help her secure victory in one hour 26 minutes. "You just have to go with it", Stephens said.

In other words: It's time to stop hedging predictions and start expecting Williams to win this tournament and tie Margaret Court's all-time record for major wins.

The departures of Stephens and Pliskova left Keys and Williams - seeded 17th despite her world 26 ranking - as the highest seeds remaining in the women's draw.

The 36-year old, American, is seeking her first Grand Slam trophy since giving birth to daughter Olympia last September.

Williams plays Anastasija Sevastova in the semi-finals on Thursday and is the only major victor left in the draw. "So no matter what happens in any match — semis, finals — I just feel like I've already won".

Despite the sweltering conditions, six-time victor Williams has barely broken a sweat in NY as she cruised through her quarter of the draw and the American will be a heavy favorite to topple the 19th-seeded Sevastova.

Rafael Nadal was forced to go the distance in an epic five-setter against Dominic Thiem in their US Open quarter-final, while Serena Williams fought back to beat Karolina Pliskova and reach the semi-finals in NY.

The home favourite claimed eight games in a row to recover from an early break of serve in the opening set and secure a 6-4, 6-3 victory over No 8 seed Karolina Pliskova.

She assessed her tournament, in her post match press conference: "When you don't play big points well, the match can get away from you. I said that 10 years ago", she said.

I didn't convert. I didn't play the big points well, and you don't win matches when you don't take your opportunities. "I didn't play my best". "I had to try to come to the net, play some drop shots, move her, not let her play the game with her forehand and make the winners". A strong response from Williams as Pliskova continued to fight back made it 5-2 before putting the final touches on the win.

"She's a great player". She broke Stephens twice in the opening set, including at love in the final game.

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