A match that looked to be in question for Serena Williams early on turned into yet another dominating performance by the six-time US Open champion on Tuesday night.
Williams, looking to tie Margaret Court’s record 24 Grand Slam victories and win her first title as a mom at this US Open, defeated the Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova 6-4, 6-3 to advance to the semifinals in Flushing, New York. It was Williams’ first win over a top-10 opponent since returning from maternity leave, and the highest seed remaining in the tournament is now fellow American Madison Keys at No. 14.
This will be Williams’ 36th appearance in a Grand Slam semifinal (30-5). The last time Williams played in the US Open and didn’t reach at least the semifinals was in 2007. She missed the 2010 and 2017 tournaments.
The last time No. 17 Williams and No. 8 Pliskova, another former world No. 1, met was in the semifinals of the 2016 US Open. Pliskova won that match, but there was not to be a repeat in the latest installment.
Pliskova started off strong, breaking serve in the third game and jumping out to a 4-2 lead in the first set. But as Williams started to find her groove she held and then broke serve to tie it 4-4. From there the four-time Olympic gold medalist only continued to gain momentum, her serve once again becoming a reliable threat and her confidence gaining as she began to move to the net and use the whole court.
After Pliskova went up 40-0 in the 10th game only for Williams to roar back to win and take the first set, the American showed no signs of slowing.
Williams would rattle off eight wins a row, going up 4-0 in the second set, before Pliskova ended her streak and won the next two games. A strong response from Williams as Pliskova continued to fight back made it 5-2 before putting the final touches on the win.
It was Williams’ 100th match at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Williams’ win came on a day when fellow Americans John Isner and Sloane Stephens, the defending US Open women’s champ, lost their respective quarterfinals. Keys, last year’s runner-up, plays tomorrow.