Serena Williams defeated Karolina Pliskova at US Open

Serena Williams defeated Karolina Pliskova at US Open

Serena Williams defeated Karolina Pliskova at US Open

Serena Williams roared into her 12th US Open semi-final on Tuesday night in her quest to equal Margaret Court's record of 24 Grand Slam titles remained on course.

After taking a 4-1 lead in the second set, Sevastova admitted she had flash backs to last year's quarter-finals, when an 83rd-ranked Stephens rallied from a break down in the third to upset Sevastova in a tiebreaker.

If you haven't been paying attention for some time, the women's semifinals at the US Open might seem like it's Serena Williams' to lose.

Williams had to fight off three break points against her in the fifth game and was unable to convert two break points on Pliskova's serve in the sixth game.

The confident Williams got some measure of revenge for her 2016 semifinal loss against the Czech as she continues to climb her way back to the top after the birth of her first child a year ago.

"So the fact that I made it to the quarter-finals and played some really good matches and I just competed as hard as I could, I mean [there's] a lot to be proud of".

"I still know that no matter whether I'm in the semi-finals or the finals, I have a really long way to go to win that".

But even when a sprint to the net ended in a beauty of a drop shot that brought her coach, Mouratoglou, to his feet, Williams was subdued in her reactions.

Stephens lacked the swagger she showed through the opening four rounds and wilted in the sun-baked daytime conditions against Sevastova, who became the first Latvian woman to reach the US Open semi-finals.

"I like it when players challenge me to do that".

Karolina Pliskova, projected to move as high as No.7 (depending on Osaka's result), gained a 4-2 lead but struggled to raise her level when Serena went from bad to deadly towards the end of the first set and lost 8 straight games from that moment.

Alyssa Roenigk is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com whose assignments have taken her to six continents and caused her to commit countless acts of recklessness.

"Still long way to go, I think", she said.

Maybe. But that didn't last long as the 36-year-old American advanced to the last four of the US Open for the 12th time.

In response, Nike, who designed the outfit for the tennis star, replied with a succinct rejoinder: "You can take the superhero out of her costume, but you can't take away her superpowers".

Williams did drop her serve once in the second, coughing up one of her five double faults on break point as Pliskova narrowed the gap to 4-1.

"I started thinking, 'I had to try harder'".

"I think you need some time to look at the journey - it was an wonderful journey these three to four years", she said. Sevastova briefly retired from the sport of tennis from May 2013 to January 2015 because of back and muscle issues, but she returned to tour after and has played continuous competitive tennis ever since. "Mentally, physically, I just wasn't connecting".

"I lost my nerves a little bit", Sevastova admitted.

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