Williams defeated a thrilling Tsweta Pironkova variety in New York by -6–6, -3–3, -૨ and reached 11th straight in the Major semifinals at her home. Last year’s men’s finalist, Daniel Medvedev, defeated Russian player Andrei Rublev-6-. (6) -3–3, -6- ((past) withdrew from the semifinals.
Williams has been flawed in his last three matches. Williams trailed 2017 champion Sloane Stephens in the third round and trailed 2-0 in the third set of Maria Sakkari, who beat Williams in a warm-up event before the US Open on Monday.
“I think – I’m fine,” Williams said. “I’m ready to play three sets in each match if I have to. It doesn’t matter. Winning is winning.”
Williams rallied from one set and collapsed against Pironkova, who has no official ranking after playing her first tournament in three years.
Leaving the tennis tour in 2017, Pironkova gave Alexander a son before returning three years later.
Assisting in her decision was a change of rule, allowing moms to return with their own rankings, when they left, for certain events.
U.S. Flushing Meadows as part of the Open Bubble with other players withdrawing with qualifying to limit the number on site – largely due to coronavirus concerns – led the 32-year-old Snake to enter the singles field of 128 players. There are also no fans at this year’s tournament.
She knocked out two-time Grand Slam champion Garbin Muguruza in the second round and came close to eliminating 38-year-old Williams, the biggest Grand Slam upset in recent history.
“So it’s been a long journey, and it’s been amazing. It’s still there,” Pironkova said. “I’ve got the right to come here and be able to play my big favorite sport in such a big field. So it’s amazing.”
The competition featured several highlight reel rallies, including one of 24 shots in a 5-3 breakout game in the second set. Pironkova pulled Williams from side to side early on, while his opponent was doing more of it himself from behind. The Bulgarian also employs its unconventional slice forehand.
They traded laser backdrops down the line, and Pironkova’s disguise about his service was that Williams was forced to use his left hand in return. This caused a service break.
“It really hit my practice a little bit but not on purpose,” Williams said. “I noticed the other day, I hit a left shot and I was very intense in practice, and I believe he got into the match.
“So when you’re in that position … this is a Grand Slam quarterfinal, and I was just trying to do everything right whether it’s right or lefty.”
The first game of the decisive proved to be important.
Pironkova grabbed the point of the game, he couldn’t put a forehand volley, ripped a pass to Williams to complete the point. Williams paid for it by breaking it and never tracked again.
Williams got an insurance break for 5-2 after Pironkova made a 40-15 advantage. She hit 20 aces overall, the most in eight years. Exchanged smiles on the net when it was over.
Her three-set win is reminiscent of the 2015 French Open, when Williams won five-setters on the way to the title.
No set lost for Medvedev
Medvedev has yet to lose a set this fortnight.
Third place came close, however, in the opener, as the big hit Rublev tied the tiebreak 6-3.
Rublev will appear off in court but on it he is flammable. Tenth threw his scandal on the court in hatred and even threw his banana when the set was over. There was no way back for him in front of his good friend after he surrendered the lead.
At the end of the match Medvedev had medical time for what seemed to be a right shoulder issue and the trainer later worked on his leg. He hopes it’s nothing serious.
Aside from being upset, Medvedev will face second-ranked Dominic Theme in Friday’s semifinal. The theme plays the role of Alex de Minour in Wednesday night’s session.
It’s open in the men’s draw, but with Williams and Osaka still around, the same can’t be said about the women’s draw.