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Serena Williams Heads Into Final 8 At US Open As Ahn, Townsend’s Breakout Performances Come To Close

By Karen Price | Sept. 03, 2019, 12:54 a.m. (ET)

Serena Williams competes at the 2019 US Open on Sept. 1, 2019 in Queens, N.Y.


Serena Williams owns 23 Grand Slam singles titles and has advanced to many, many quarterfinals on the biggest stages in tennis during her career.

Her 6-3, 6-4 victory over No. 22 Petra Martic of Croatia in the fourth round of the US Open fell on a very special day, however. Sunday was also daughter Olympia’s second birthday, and Williams posted an Instagram message saying the past two years have been her greatest accomplishment.

She’s still pushing toward another pretty great accomplishment, of course, as she remains in the hunt for a record-tying 24th title. The four-time Olympic gold medalist has come close since her return from maternity leave in 2018, reaching three Grand Slam finals in six tries, but she’s never been able to finish things out.

Williams rolled her ankle during Sunday’s match and had to take a medical timeout, which is always cause for concern given the myriad physical problems that have hindered her at different points in the season.

After the conclusion of Monday’s matches, however, Williams at No. 8 is now the second-highest seed left. Japan’s Naomi Osaka, who beat Williams in the final last year at the US Open and was the No. 1 seed, lost to Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic, making No. 5 Elina Svitolina the highest remaining seed.

Williams will face No. 18 Wang Qiang of China on Tuesday.

Though three other U.S. women reached the fourth round, Williams was the only one to advance to the final eight.

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Svitolina defeated No. 10 Madison Keys 7-5, 6-4 on Sunday. That left only unseeded Kristie Ahn and Taylor Townsend playing on Monday.

Both were having breakthrough performances at the US Open. Ahn, 27, had never advanced past the first round of a Grand Slam in her 12-year career at this level, only making it to the main draw three times prior. Townsend, 23, reached the third round of the French Open in 2014.

Ahn lost to No. 25 Elise Mertens of Belgium 6-1, 6-1, and Townsend fell to No. 15 Bianca Andreescu of Canada 6-1, 4-6, 6-2.

Meanwhile, the men’s and women’s doubles competitions whittled down their fields to eight over the holiday weekend as well.

In men’s doubles, two-time Olympic medalist Jack Sock and Jackson Withrow make up the last U.S. team standing following their 6-4, 7-5 win over U.S. brothers Bob and Mike Bryan on Monday. Sock and Mike Bryan partnered to win Wimbledon and the US Open in 2018 while Bob recovered from hip surgery. The Bryan brothers have won a record 16 Grand Slam titles and three Olympic medals together.

On the women’s side, Caroline Dolehide and Vania King moved on with a 6-3, 7-6 (4) win over American Bernarda Pera and Chile’s Alexa Guarachi on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the mixed doubles competition has reached the semifinals, with American Bethanie Mattek-Sands and British partner Jamie Murray — the defending champions — set to compete again on Wednesday.

Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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