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Wednesday , October 16 2019

Serena sweeps into semis; Federer out

Medvedev too good for Wawrinka; Svitolina downs Konta to reach US Open semifinals

Serena Williams, of the United States, reaches for a shot from Qiang Wang, of China, during the quarter-finals of the US Open tennis tournament in New York. (Inset): Roger Federer, of Switzerland, thanks the crowd after a loss to Grigor Dimitrov, of Bulgaria, during the quarter-finals of the US Open tennis championships on Sept 3 in New York. (AP)

NEW YORK, Sept 4, (RTRS): Serena Williams claimed her 100th win at the US Open in style, dismantling her quarter-final opponent Wang Qiang 6-1, 6-0 in a blistering 44-minute performance that ended any questions over a twisted ankle from the previous round.

“I never thought that I would get to 100,” Williams said after the match, reflecting on the two decades she’s spent playing at Flushing Meadows. “It’s so special. I never want to let it go.”

The eighth-seeded American joins Chris Evert as the only two players to log at least 100 victories at the tournament. Williams is now only one behind Evert’s mark.

The 37-year-old Williams was dominant from the start, firing off 25 winners, compared to zero from 18th-seed Wang, and winning 90% of her first serve points.

During her fourth-round match on Sunday, Williams slipped and fell while running to the net and twisted her right ankle but said on Tuesday she was feeling “great”.

“It feels good,” Williams said of her performance. “This is how hard I’ve been working. It feels like … hard work pays off when that happens.”

Williams pumped her fist in celebration after firing off a forehand winner in front of a roaring crowd to end the contest.

“I am who I am. I’ve always been the person that goes out there and roars and screams and complains and cries and fights,” Williams said.

“I’m extremely passionate about what I do. Most people that love their jobs are passionate about what they do. That’s just me.”

She also praised the progress made in women’s tennis over her career, calling it the “premier sport for women”.

Wang, who had not faced Williams before, was unable to save any of the five break point opportunities against her and said she simply could not stand up to the power from the 23-times Grand Slam champion.

Williams faces fifth-seed Elina Svitolina, who she leads 4-1 in head-to-head, in the semifinals.

Meanwhile, Grigor Dimitrov stepped out of Roger Federer’s shadow to claim a spot in the US Open semifinals with a shock 3-6, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 win over the wounded Swiss.

Coming into the US Open, the 78th ranked Dimitrov, dubbed “Baby Fed” because of the similarities between his game and Federer’s, did not look much of a threat, posting just one win from his last eight matches.

But the Bulgarian, who had been ranked as high as number three, has found some form on the New York hard-courts and claimed his first win in eight meetings with the 20-times Grand Slam winner.

Dimitrov will now face Daniil Medvedev on Friday for a place in final, the Russian advancing to the last four with a 7-6(6), 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 win over another Swiss Stan Wawrinka.

While not as crushing as his five-set loss to Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final, is was another bitterly disappointing missed opportunity for Federer to add to his Grand Slam haul.

After a sputtering start to the US Open that saw him drop the first set in his opening two matches in astonishingly submissive style, Federer had looked more like the silky smooth Swiss maestro fans have come to expect.

He was virtually flawless in his next two contests, dropping just nine games total in straight sets wins setting the tennis world buzzing about a possible Grand Slam Big Apple final showdown with old rival Rafa Nadal.

Federer looked razor sharp to start the match but was not able to maintain his usual high level against the gritty Bulgarian.

The turning point came in the fourth set, Dimitrov fighting off five break points to win the set and level match at 2-2.

And something unexpected did.

Before the start of the fifth set Federer called for the trainer, who, after a brief conversation with the 38-year-old, escorted him off the court for a medical time out to deal with a back problem.

When play resumed Dimitrov seized his chance, breaking Federer to open the fifth and then a second time with the Swiss unable to mount any defence as the Bulgarian went on to claim the biggest win of his career.

Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina continued her dominant run against Johanna Konta with a 6-4, 6-4 win on Tuesday to reach the US Open semifinals for the first time.

The fifth seed, who has won all of her meetings with the Briton, reached her second straight Grand Slam semi after also making the last four at Wimbledon in July.

Svitolina’s sturdy baseline attack wore down the 16th-seeded Konta, who made 35 unforced errors, 22 more than her opponent, on a sun-soaked day at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Svitolina rifled a backhand winner on break point for a 4-3 lead in the second set, celebrating with an emphatic fist pump in front of the crowd that included her French boyfriend Gael Monfils, who plays his quarter-final on Wednesday.

Konta continued to fight, however, saving two match points on her serve, but Svitolina ended the contest in the next game when the Briton fired long.

Svitolina said Monfils, her frequent practice partner, has been a source of encouragement throughout the tournament.

“Definitely we are pushing each other I think because we are trying to join each other in the quarter-final and now the semifinal… so now he has to step up his game,” she added with a laugh.

Svitolina has yet to drop a set in her run at Flushing Meadows where she has dispatched opponents including former world number one Venus Williams and 2017 finalist Madison Keys.

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