Serena Williams’ bid to win her 23rd grand slam title remains on track after she advanced to the US Open semi-finals with a three-set win over Simona Halep.
The world No.1 prevailed 6-2 4-6 6-3 over the Romanian fifth seed in their quarter-final on Wednesday night.
Williams’ second-set loss, when Halep saved all 12 break points she faced, was the first set the top seed has lost in five matches at Flushing Meadows this year.
Williams will next face Karolina Pliskova, a grand slam underachiever, who took a big step towards shedding that unwanted label by sweeping past Croatian teenager Ana Konjuh 6-2 6-2.
Pliskova arrived at Flushing Meadows as the only player ranked inside the top 20 yet to reach the fourth round at one of tennis’s four blue riband events but the 10th-seeded Czech made her trip to the semis look like nothing new as she overwhelmed 18-year-old Konjuh in 57 minutes on Wednesday.
“It’s an amazing feeling, I am so excited to be in my first semi-final especially in this tournament I very much love New York and hardcourt season,” said Pliskova.
“I think I played a very good match today.
“I did a quick break in the first game which helped me and I was more calm then and going for my shots.”
It was a ruthless and dominating performance from Pliskova, who did not face a break point while surrendering only five points on her serve.