Serena battles past Pliskova to reach semis

Serena battles past Pliskova to reach semis

Serena battles past Pliskova to reach semis

Karolina Pliskova, projected to move as high as No.7 (depending on Osaka's result), gained a 4-2 lead but struggled to raise her level when Serena went from bad to deadly towards the end of the first set and lost 8 straight games from that moment.

In the other games, defending champion Sloane Stephens of the US was outclassed in her quarter-final clash by Latvia's Anastasija Sevastova 2-6, 3-6.

Pliskova, in 2016, had eliminated Williams in the US Open semi-finals - the 23-time Grand Slam victor is chasing her first major since becoming a mother previous year.

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.

"It means a lot but I was much more emotional for the quarters and now I feel like it's sort of business again", the 20-year-old 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 36-year-old American's most recent major title came at the 2017 Australian Open, while she was pregnant. The highest-ranked player she beat on her way to the Wimbledon final was a world No. 13-ranked Julia Goerges-who she also beat at the French Open.

The third-seeded American lacked the swagger she showed through the opening four rounds and wilted in the sun-baked conditions at Flushing Meadows against Sevastova, who became the first Latvian woman to reach the semi-finals of the U.S. Open.

But she trailed by a break in the opening set, and then was a point from being behind 4-1, before turning things around.

Once she'd overcome the early difficulties, Williams was a joy to behold. She put a backhand into the net to get broken to 2-1 at the outset.

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Serena Williams reflects on her quarterfinal win over Karolina Pliskova and being compared to Michael Jordan and Muhammad Ali by film director Spike Lee.

Sep 4, 2018; New York, NY, USA; Serena Williams of the United States hits a forehand against Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic (not pictured) in a quarter-final match on day nine of the 2018 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. "Shocking, my first top-10 win", said Williams.

"The second set, she was just mixing the serve. I'm going to enjoy it the best I can".

"She's been playing really well for actually a long time", Williams said of her semi-final opponent. She went 15 of 21 in her fourth round at net.

By failing to step up her game for the key points, Stephens allowed the match to get away from her quickly and despite a late fightback was in no shape to pull off a comeback.

Indeed Stephens fought back to narrow the gap to 4-3, but Sevastova grabbed another break with a well-timed drop shot for a 5-3 lead and sealed the victory on her third match point when a tired Sephens put a backhand into the net. "I love you. Thank you", Osaka said during her interview.

Gauff's father, Corey, played basketball at Georgia State and her mother, Candi, ran track at Florida State.

Williams upped her number of winners as Pliskova's unforced error count grew, a pattern which continued in the early part of the second set.

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