Flushing Meadows, NY ~ Serena Williams fought through a tough 3-set match against Simona Halep, but pulled off an edgy 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 victory to advance to the semi-finals. It was a tale of two sets. Looking over matched in the first set, Halep found her rhythm and serve in the second set as she did to Williams what few other can, keeping her on her heels. But Williams, who showed much needed patience, used her power serve and finesse to win a hotly contested second set.
Aiming to surpass Steffi Graf on the all-time Grand Slam honor rolls in New York, Williams managed to turn things around in the third set, her best-in-the-business serve often coming to her rescue in tough moments. She would break for 3-1 and never let up, closing out the win in two hours and 14 minutes. She finished with 18 aces and four double faults.
“I knew that I could play a lot of better,” said Williams of her second-set letdown, in which she amassed 25 of her 43 unforced errors. “I knew that I lost my rhythm and that I would have to step it up in the third. But I’m happy to be in the semifinals.”
Williams will face-off against No. 10 seed Karolina Pliskova in the semifinals on Day 11. It was the Czech baseliner who took out her sister Venus in the fourth round in a thrilling third-set tiebreak. It will be only their second encounter on the WTA tour, Williams having claimed their first matchup, 7-5, 6-2, in the fourth round at Stanford in 2014.