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

Justin GreeneSep 08, 2018

After going down 1-3 in the first set, Williams turned the match around for a 6-4, 6-3 win.

Defending champion Stephens is up first on Arthur Ashe Stadium, facing No. 19 seed Anastasija Sevastova in a rematch of Stephens' three-set victory in the same round at Flushing Meadows a year ago.

Six-time champion Serena Williams shook off a sluggish start to power past eighth-seeded Karolina Pliskova 6-4, 6-3 on Tuesday and into the US Open semi-finals.

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.

"The crowd was really rooting for me and I felt so bad because everyone out here was cheering and I wasn't winning", she explained.

"I really feel like right now I'm playing free because I was having a baby this time a year ago, so I have nothing to prove".

The evergreen Williams is just two matches from a grand slam title that would see her draw level with Margaret Court as the sport's all-time leader.

After the match, Stephens refused to blame the heat - or the sinus infection she said she has been playing with since Monday - and instead cited her failure to take advantage of early opportunities to get ahead on Sevastova's serve.

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

Sevastova, who retired in 2013 because of injuries and returned almost two years later, advanced to her first Slam semifinal. "So no matter what happens in any match — semis, finals — I just feel like I've already won".

The No. 19 seed Latvian said it is always tough to play Stephens - her ball is heavy and she generates a lot of spin on both her forehand and backhand, Sevastova said during the news conference.

Earlier in the tournament, Williams made headlines when French Open officials warned they would not allow her to wear her Black Panther-inspired catsuit at the tournament next year.

Serena Williams reflects on her quarterfinal win over Karolina Pliskova and being compared to Michael Jordan and Muhammad Ali by film director Spike Lee. It's still long way to go, I think.

The Pliskova match marks Serena's first Top-10 win of her comeback.

"When you don't play big points well, the match can get away from you", she said. Williams has carried out thirteen aces and made 5 double faults and carried out 4 break factors out of seven.

She broke again to go up 2-0 in the second set before Stephens, pleading with herself to fight, broke back. Add that to her usual powerful baseline game and always superb serve, which reached 120 miles per hour (194 kph), and this really was no contest at all.

The roads were rocky with the younger Williams sister being down 3 - 1 in the first set but the Queen got her swag and swing right to prevail.

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