US Open: Serena Williams, Karolina Pliskova clash in quarter-finals

Author: Rosalind K. Amoh
Serena Williams relieved to be in the quarter-finals
Serena Williams relieved to be in the quarter-finals

Six-time champion, Serena Williams is through to the quarter-finals of the US Open and is set to play Karolina Pliskova, the eighth-seeded Czech on Tuesday.

This will be the third meeting between the two players. Pliskova defeated Williams in the semi-finals in New York in 2016, while the American won their Round of 16 clash at the 2014 Stanford Open tournament.

Williams survived a spirited challenge from unseeded Kaia Kanepi to triumph 6-0, 4-6, 6-3 on Sunday and reach the quarter-finals of the US Open.

Serena Williams screams for joy after winning her fourth round match against Kaia Kanepi

The 23-time Grand Slam champion looked set to romp home when she seized the first set from Kanepi in just 18 minutes. But the hard-hitting Estonian, who took out world number one Simona Halep in the first round, settled down in the second set, shaking off the partisan crowd in a jammed Arthur Ashe Stadium to push Williams the rest of the way.

"It wasn't an easy match at all," said Williams, who let out what she called a "Serena scream" after ripping a backhand cross court to hold serve in the opening game of the third set.

"Winning a big game and a very important game and a really tight game, I think it was just a relief," said Williams, who took control with a break in the next game and maintained that advantage until she fired a forehand winner on her first match point.

Williams finished with 18 aces and 47 total winners. A couple of loose points gifted Kanepi a break in the first game of the second set, however, and she couldn't get back on terms.

"She's had a lot of big wins in her career. I was just happy to get through it to be honest," Williams said.

Pliskova beat Australian Ashleigh Barty 6-4, 6-4 in their game also played on Sunday.

The Czech's runner-up finish to Kerber in the 2016 US Open, remains her best Grand Slam finish, but Williams noted she briefly gained the number one world ranking last year.

"She got there for a reason, she has a lot of strong parts to her game," Williams said. "It will be an interesting match."

Karolina Pliskova finished as runner-up at the 2016 US Open

Pliskova was looking forward to it, too.

"I know she has a big game, but I have a big game too. I have a good serve. So I have some weapons, too. For sure, there is always a chance for me."

Williams heads into the second week at Flushing Meadows tracking two milestones: A seventh US Open title would see her break out of a tie with Chris Evert for the Open Era record and also equal Australian Margaret Court's all-time record of 24 major titles.

Source: AFP