Serena Williams kept alive her hopes of a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles title with a 4-6 6-3 6-2 win over Tsvetana Pironkova in the US Open quarter-finals.
A couple of days after she had won her 100th match at the Arthur Ashe Stadium, Serena Williams won her 101st match on the show court on Wednesday. Williams defeated Tsvetana Pironkova to reach the semi-finals of the 2020 US Open.
In the clash of the two mothers on the WTA Tour, Williams came from a set and break down to best the Bulgarian 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in two hours and 11 minutes. When the match began, while Pironkova looked sharp, Williams looked fatigued and spent.
The first couple of games of the opening set remained on serve but was it the American’s serve that came constantly under threat as Pironkova kept throwing the six-time former US Open champion out of rhythm while looking comfortable on her own serves.
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The first break of the match came in the fifth game of the set when Pironkova captured the break – and the lead – on her second break point. The 32-year-old extended the lead long enough to win the set after serving it out in the 10th game.
When play resumed, Williams’ inexplicable distractedness continued and she was broken right in the first game of the second set. Pironkova’s consolidation to go 2-0 coupled with Williams’ erratic play made it seem as though the wait for the 24th Slam would continue a while longer for the former world no.
1. However, Williams began scripting a comeback at that point. In the fourth game of the set, she broke back Pironkova to bring the set at par at 2-all. Then, in the seventh game, she broke the Bulgarian for the second time to take the lead in the match for the first time.
As Pironkova began to tire out, Williams found her range and won the next three games to win the set and level the match. Williams’ run of consecutive games extended into the third set as well and she broke Pironkova to up 1-0 in the final set.
The next game saw her consolidate for her fifth straight game before the former world no. 31 stemmed her misery by winning her first game of the set. The set proceeded on serve thereafter, only this time Williams finding it easier to retain her serves while Pironkova visibly struggled to do so.
The match reached its tipping point when Pironkova was broken yet again, in the seventh game. The service break proved decisive as Williams took the win in the eighth game, serving it out comfortably, at love. Williams finished the match with 20 aces and just the one double fault to Pironkova’s four aces and 1 double fault.
She hit 44 winners and had 24 unforced errors, and won a total of 97 points. Pironkova had 27 winners and 26 unforced errors, and had 86 points for the match. Serena Williams will play either Victoria Azarenka or Elise Mertens for a place in the final of the 2020 US Open.