Serena Williams beats Pliskova, makes US Open semifinals

May JohnsonSep 08, 2018

Serena, who fell at the quarter-finals stage three times at US Open, in 2000 (l. Davenport), 2004 (l. Capriati) and 2007 (l. Henin), Serena A completed her 172nd career Top 10 win, the first of which came over No.7 Pierce at 1997 Chicago, her 21st at US Open.

After taking a 4-1 lead in the second set, Sevastova admitted that memories of last year's quarter-final against Stephens flashed across her mind.

Williams was on track to meet defending champion Sloane Stephens in the semi-finals but her third-seeded countrywoman was dumped out of the tournament via a 6-2, 6-3 loss to 19th seed Anastasija Sevastova.

From there, the result was never in doubt as Williams finished off with three aces and an overhead to seal her place in the final four.

The second semi-final sees 2017 runner-up Madison Keys face Japan's Naomi Osaka, who is making her first appearance in a Grand Slam semi-final.

Karolina Pliskova, the No. 8 seed, knocked off Williams in the 2016 semifinals before the 23-time Grand Slam champion missed last year's tournament, when she gave birth. So obviously I know her game really well.

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.

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Stephens lacked the swagger she showed through the opening four rounds and wilted in the sun-baked daytime conditions against Sevastova, who became the first Latvian woman to reach the US Open semi-finals. "So no matter what happens in any match — semis, finals — I just feel like I've already won".

"When she's in front, it's tough to play", said Sevastova, who retired from tennis in 2013, then returned to the tour in 2015. For Williams her service game wasn't so easy with Pliskova getting into her element ready to brake Williams again. "She was No. 1 previous year, so she got there for a reason".

When the 36-year-old American first looked at the draw she would have instantly picked out world number one Simona Halep as a potential troublespot, but even before Williams had hit her first ball the Romanian was gone, a victim of a first round upset, eliminating a tricky fourth round encounter with the French Open champion.

Pliskova is asked about the muggy conditions and says that she's grateful she hasn't played any three-setters in NY, having advanced to the quarters without dropping a set. "I mean, there is still semi-finals", she said.

"When you don't play big points well, the match can get away from you", Stephens said. "I was proud of this match, I think it was a great match past year, but look what happened now". "I don't think there's any change with her game".

"She's playing with the same power".

"So now I feel like I'm at a level where I can play and try to compete against these wonderful women in the Top 10".

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