Six-time champion Serena, defending champion Nadal into US Open semi-finals

New York, Sept 5: Six-time champion Serena Williams shook off a sluggish start to power past eighth-seeded Karolina Pliskova 6-4, 6-3 and into the US Open semi-finals.
The US superstar, chasing a record-equalling 24th major title, surrendered an early break to Pliskova, but she roared back with a streak of eight straight games to put away the opening set and take a 4-0 lead in the second against the woman who beat her in the semi-finals at Flushing Meadows in 2016.
“I just wanted to play better,” Williams said of her mindset as she trailed 3-1 in the first on Tuesday.
“I was thinking, you know, I can play better, so that was the good news.”
Williams did indeed cut down on the errors, and came up with the big serves when she needed them.
She finished the match with 13 aces and will take on Anastasija Sevastova for a place in the final after the 19th-seeded Latvian toppled defending champion Sloane Stephens 6-2, 6-3.
Pliskova, who managed to convert just two of 12 break point chances in the contest, said Williams was simply too good in the important moments.
Meanwhile, defending champion Rafael Nadal survived an epic US Open quarter-final confrontation to defeat battling ninth seed Dominic Thiem 0-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7/5) and reach the semi-finals for the seventh time.
In a gripping 4-hour 49-minute contest which concluded at 2.04 a.M. On Wednesday, world number one Nadal won through to keep his bid for a fourth title in New York and 18th Grand Slam crown on track.
However, the 32-year-old was fortunate to triumph on another hot and humid night at Flushing Meadows, 24 hours after Roger Federer had been dumped out of the tournament by John Millman.
After suffering a first set ‘bagel’, Nadal had to battle back from breaks in the third and fourth sets before seeing off the first top 20 player he had faced at the US Open since 2013. (Agencies)