Serena Williams marched into the U.S. Open semifinals Wednesday with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 victory over World No.5 Simona Halep in the quarterfinal tie at the Arthur Ashe Stadium.
With the victory, Williams moved two wins away from setting a new Open Era record of 23 Grand Slam championships. With a victory on Saturday, Williams would also be winning a record seventh US Open title, besides setting a new mark for consecutive weeks as World No.1 (187).
Credit to Halep, the Romanian who fought tooth-and-nail with Williams, even though none of the sets went into a tie-breaker. The crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium gave Halep a great ovation upon her defeat.
“I knew I could play a lot better. I felt I lost my rhythm, and Simona started playing better. I knew I had to step it up in the third set,” Williams said during the on-court interview.
Williams won the match in two hours and 14 minutes. It was her 309th victory in a Grand Slam tournament, two more wins than Roger Federer, who skipped the 2016 US Open due to injuries.
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Serena Williams vs Pliskova on Thursday
Williams will now face World No. 10 Karolina Pliskova on Thursday night in the semi-final. According to WTA’s website, the clash will be between the two women with the most aces among all active players.
After Wednesday’s win, Williams praised the efforts of her Romanian opponent, who saved 11 break points in the second set to force a deciding third set.
“I wasn’t very happy about that (the second set), but I tried not to let that get me down. I tried to stay positive and I knew that if I did, I could just stay in the match,” said Williams, who failed to capture a gold medal during the Rio Olympics.
According to ESPN, “Williams finished with 18 aces, a 50-20 edge in total winners and won the point on 26 of her 32 trips to the net.”
Serena Williams will attempt to make history this weekend.