US OPEN: SERENA, THIEM THROUGH TO SEMI -FINALS
American Serena Williams continue her quest for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam with a victory over Tsvetana Pironkova 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 to set up a semi-final clash against Victoria Azarenka.
The game at Flushing Meadows saw the six time champion work hard to turn things around having lost the first set 4-6. The unseeded and unranked Belgian, Pironkova who took break for a three year to start a family was exciting to watch in the opening set by overwhelming Serena.
Serena’s determination swelled with comeback having started the second set slow and sluggish but recovered which included two astonishing shots with left hand to earn her winning points. She continued her intensity with gradual understanding of Pironkova shots to overturn the result to 6-3.
Pironkova having been in control of the first set, fought to redeem her play but Serena’s improving game and quick drive pressured the Belgian to succumb to the third set 6-2.
Williams who is looking to match Margaret Court’s record for the most number of singles Grand Slam wins had admitted that managing pressure that’s heaped on her shoulders is a challenge.
“Sometimes it’s harder than others. Every day having ‘Serena’ on your back is target for the tour, for press, for stress,” she said
“But as Billie Jean King said, pressure is a privilege. So, I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
Meanwhile, Williams praised her opponent for an outstanding performance,
“She played unbelievable today,” Serena added about Pironkova “She’s incredible.”
Williams shall face Victoria Azarenka who demolished Belgian Elise Mertens 6-1, 6-0 in the semi-final, having spread the court with over 20 wins to overwhelm Elise in their first career meeting.
Azarenka will be hoping to win her first Grand Slam title in seven years. Williams and Azarenka met at the finals of the US Open in 2012 and 2013 with Serena winning both final.
In the men’s semi-final draw Medvedev will play Thiem, the Russia’s third seed Medvedev down compatriots and childhood friend Andrey Rublev 7-6, (8/6), 6-3, 7-6 (7/5). While second seed Austrian, Dominic Thiem demolished Australian Alex de Minaur 21st seeded 6-1, 6-0, 6-4.