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Williams tops Pliskova in US Open quarters

Williams tops Pliskova in US Open quarters

Sevastova, who avenged last year's quarter-final loss to Stephens in NY to reach her first Grand Slam semi, converted five of her eight break points and saved seven of the nine against her on the Arthur Ashe Stadium court.

Her semi-final opponent will be 19th seeded Anastasija Sevastova, who stunned defending champion Sloane Stephens 6-2 6-3 in stiflingly hot conditions earlier on Tuesday.

The 36-year-old Williams, who is bidding for a record seventh title at Flushing Meadows as well her 24th major singles crown, started sluggishly in the night session at Arthur Ashe Stadium, allowing Pliskova to take a 3-1 lead in the opening set before rebounding to win 6-4, 6-3.

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. Osaka put it best after her quarterfinal win: "Sometimes I go insane and then I start hitting everything". If she goes on to win this tournament, she will become the second Latvian to win a grand slam event, after Jelena Ostapenko, who won the French Open in 2017.

Williams wants this title so badly she can probably taste the silver polish on the trophy. "I love this game so maybe that's why", added Williams, who was beaten by Pliskova in the 2016 semi-finals. Pliskova rued the last big chance to come back into the match, Serena sealed the win with an ace.

Serena: 'I've seen her play a lot.

Next up for the 28-year-old is Serena, who beat Pliskova later in the day to move into the semis.

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Kanepi responded brilliantly in the second set by breaking Williams twice before she held serve in the 10th game to level the match. Another netted backhand helped Serena to complete the turnaround and seal the first set 6-4.

Sevastova: 'I hope I will enjoy it, playing semi-finals.

In response, Nike, who designed the outfit for the tennis star, replied with a succinct rejoinder: "You can take the superhero out of her costume, but you can't take away her superpowers". "I was thinking, 'I can play better.' So that was the good news".

Stephens looked a step behind from the start of the match and failed to convert seven break points in the first set against Sevastova, which put her in a unsafe position against a woman who entered the match having broken her opponent's serve a tournament-leading 23 times.

"I think you need some time to look at the journey - it was an fantastic journey these three to four years", she said. Perhaps no other player has been as dominant on the surface, and Williams' powerful serves are a punishing weapon on the outdoor hard courts of Flushing Meadows. "It was two years ago for me, but I have great memories from that match".

"I lost my nerves a little bit", Sevastova admitted.