First set: Rublev 6-5* Medvedev
Rublev is facing a spot of pressure on serve for the first time today. He’s pushed to deuce from 40-love after misfiring on a backhand at the end of a 22-shot rally, but he rattles off two quick points from theree to escape with the hold. Medvedev will serve to force a first-set tiebreaker after the changeover.
First set: *Rublev 5-5 Medvedev
Medvedev is forced into a backhand error on the opening point to go love-15 down, marking the first time either player has fallen behind on his serve so far. But he responds emphatically on the next three points: forehand baseline winner, 125mph ace down the middle, forehand baseline winner. He then closes out the hold with a 124mph serve out wide that Rublev can’t get back into play.
First set: Rublev 5-4 Medvedev*
Rublev responds with a love hold of his own. He’s only gettiing about a third of his first serves in – nine of 26 so far – but staying afloat with 13-of-17 second-serve points won (76%).
First set: *Rublev 4-4 Medvedev
Medvedev holds at love, crushing a 129mph ace down the middle along the way. His first-serve percentage inches above 50% during his cleanest service game yet. That’s a good sign: He’s won 10 of 11 of his first-serve points, a formidable 91% clip.
First set: Rublev 4-3 Medvedev*
Rublev opens with a 128mph ace down the middle, but Medvedev crushes a forehand winner from the baseline on the next point for 15-all. Rublev rattles three straight points from there, sealing the hold with a forehand winner early in the point. Both guys hitting the cover off the ball early.
First set: *Rublev 3-3 Medvedev
Medvedev breezes through another service game, closing it out with a 121mph ace out wide. On we go.
First set: Rublev 3-2 Medvedev*
After Rublev wins the opening point with a sharp backhand, Medvedev gets the better of a grueling 18-shot exchange with a backhand winner for 15-all. From there, Rublev rattles off three quick points for the hold. Both sides looking comfortable on serve in the early going.
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First set: *Rublev 2-2 Medvedev
Medvedev answers with a stress-free hold of his own, capping it with a 127mph ace down the middle. Mostly short points so far but some big hitting and fine shotmaking when they get into the rallies.
First set: Rublev 2-1 Medvedev*
Another uncomplicated hold for Rublev, who cracks a 105mph ace out wide along the way.
First set: *Rublev 1-1 Medvedev
Medvedev opens with a 110mph second-serve service winner to the body and cruises to a straightforward hold in his opening service game.
First set: Rublev 1-0 Medvedev*
The second match of the day is under way on Ashe. And if the 35-stroke rally (!) won by Rublev to hold his opening service game is any indication, this all-Russian matchup between old friends could be a barnburner.
The final for the women’s doubles has been set. The No3 seeds, Nicole Melichar and Xu Yifan, have won their semi-final and will face the team of Laura Siegemund and Vera Zvonareva in the final.
“It just shows me how tough moms are,” Williams says in her on-court interview after winning the first ever major quarter-final staged between two mothers. “Whenever you can birth a baby, then honestly you can do anything. And I think we saw that with Tsvetana today. She played unbelievable.”
She adds: “I could barely win a match when I came back. She’s incredible. That’s why I say I think I’m most influenced by moms. … You play a match and you go home and you’re still changing diapers. It’s like a double life. It’s really surreal.”
Asked about her slow start in falling a set and break down, Williams admitted to experiencing fatigure in the early going.
“I definitely was feeling it a little in my legs,” she says. “For whatever reason, an hour in I get more energy. I guess that’s a good thing. I don’t really get tired. Just in the beginning I was a little fatigued for whatever reason. Obviously I can’t do that if I want to keep winning, so I’m going to try to figure that out.
“I play again tomorrow. The good news is I’m used to playing back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back, so in a way I’ll kind of be used to it. But at the same time I just need to figure out how to start out a little bit faster.”
Williams wins 4-6, 6-3, 6-2!
Third set: Pironkova 6-4, 3-6, 2-6 Williams
Williams closes it out in style: 103mph ace out wide, 107mph service winner down the middle, 124mph unreturnable, backhand winner at the net. The 23-time major champion is through the US Open semi-finals … and two wins away from her record-tying 24th!
at 2.49pm EDT
Williams breaks in seventh game of third set!
Third set: Pironkova 6-4, 3-6, 2-5 Williams*
Williams giving Pironkova no quarter. The Buglarian is a point from the hold at 40-15, but Williams rattles off three quick points for a break chance. Pironkova saves it with a backhand winner, but moments later Williams earns a second look at a break … and this time converts it with a backhand winner of her own. The American will serve for the spot in the semi-finals after the change of ends.
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Third set: *Pironkova 6-4, 3-6, 2-4 Williams
Another easy service game for Williams, who punctuates the hold with a 122mph ace down the middle. Pironkova running out of time to make up the difference.
Third set: Pironkova 6-4, 3-6, 2-3 Williams*
Pironkova comes through with her first drama-free hold since the first set, opening with her fourth ace and going backhand winner, service winner, service winner to close it out.
Third set: *Pironkova 6-4, 3-6, 1-3 Williams
A dialed-in Williams breezes to a comfortable hold, capping it with a 120mph ace down the pipe. Another must-hold game coming up for Pironkova, who still trails by a break.
Third set: Pironkova 6-4, 3-6, 1-2 Williams*
After cruising on her serve early, Pironkiva has found herself fighting from behind in her last six service games. She is pushed to deuce from love-15 and 15-30 before escaping with the hold in another drawn-out marathon. She’s hit 21 winners against 22 unforced errors on the day (compared to 34 and 24 for Williams, respectively).
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Third set: *Pironkova 6-4, 3-6, 0-2 Williams
Williams is pushed to deuce, but follows with a pair of unreturnable serves to close out the hold and back up the break. That’s five games on the trot for the American from 3-all in the second. A must-hold service game forthcoming for Pironkova.
Williams breaks in first game of third set!
Third set: Pironkova 6-4, 3-6, 0-1 Williams*
Pironkova almost immediately in deep waters after falling behind love-30 on her serve. She rallies with three quick points, but Williams responds with a backhand winner off the ground for deuce followed by a backhand return winner for break point. Pironkova erases it with the aid of the netcord, but faces another break point only moments later. Pironkova saves that one, too, when Williams overcooks a backhand return on a 73mph second serve. Williams hangs around long enough for a third break chance and this time she capitalizes, winning the 16-point marathon to nose ahead in the decider.
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Williams wins second set, 6-3!
Second set: Pironkova 6-4, 3-6 Williams
Williams goes down love-15, then 15-30. But the American digs in, pounding her 14th, 15th and 16th aces to back up the break and close out the set in style. We’re headed to a decider.
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Williams breaks in eighth game of second set!
Second set: Pironkova 6-4, 3-5 Williams*
Pironkova drops three quick points on her serve to give Williams three chances at a break point. She saves the first with a forehand volley winner. Then a gruelling 24-stroke baseline rally breaks out – the longest of the afternoon – ending when Pironkova mishits a drop shot. Williams gets the break and will serve to force a deciding set!
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Second set: *Pironkova 6-4, 3-4 Williams
Williams goes down love-15 and 15-30, but serves her way out of trouble once more as Pironkova doesn’t get a ball back in play the rest of the way.
Second set: Pironkova 6-4, 3-3 Williams*
Pironkova badly needed a straightforward service game and that’s what she produced, rattling off four quick points after misfiring a forehand volley for love-15. They’re on serve in the second.
Second set: *Pironkova 6-4, 2-3 Williams
Williams breezes through her third service game of the set, closing out the love hold with a 99mph ace out wide and an 88mph second-serve service winner.
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Second set: Pironkova 6-4, 2-2 Williams*
Pironkova feels the pressure on her serve for a second straight service game, getting pushed to deuce and saving a break point before escaping with the hold. Williams is getting neutral in the baseline rallies far more effectively than in the first set, when Pironkova won all five exchanges of nine or more shots.
Second set: *Pironkova 6-4, 1-2 Williams
Williams is forced to deuce and made to work for the hold over a 12-point game, but the American is helped out mightily once again by her serve: she’s just slotted her ninth, 10th and 11th aces of the day. She’s also starting to get the ball deeper into the court in the rallies, denying Pironkova the time and space that she enjoyed in the first set.
Williams breaks in second game of second set!
Second set: Pironkova 6-4, 1-1 Williams*
Pironkova blinks in her first service game of the second set, falling behind love-15, then 15-30, then 30-40 to give Williams her first look at a break point all day. And Williams converts it when Pironkova misfires on a forehand from the baseline, breaking right back.
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Pironkova breaks in first game of second set!
Second set: *Pironkova 6-4, 1-0 Williams
Williams crushes her eighth ace for 15-all after dropping the opening point, then is pushed to 30-all after Pironkova gets the better of a backhand-to-backhand exchange from the baseline. Pironkova then hits a backhand winner for break point … and the underdog converts it when Williams misfires a forehand for her 13th unforced error of the day. The upset alert is on as Williams goes down a set and a break.
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Pironkova wins first set, 6-4!
First set: Pironkova 6-4 Williams
Serving at 15-love and three points from the set, Pironkova picks a poor time for her first double fault of the day. But she responds nicely, going 110mph ace, service winner and backhand winner to close out the set. Williams will need to go the distance if she hopes to keep her quest for a record-tying 24th major title alive.
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First set: *Pironkova 5-4 Williams
Unforced errors are beginning to creep into Williams’ game at an inopportune time. She is pushed to 30-all after making a pair of them off the backhand side. Pironkova wins the next point with a sharp backhand from the baseline for set point, but Williams saves it with a forehand winner into an open court. She follows with a service winner but another unforced error from the baseline on the next point edges it back to deuce. Pironkova then slots a highlight-reel lob winner for a second set point, but wastes it with an overcooked forehand. From there Williams holds, closing it out with a 103mph ace down the middle. Pironkova will serve for the first set after the changeover.
First set: Pironkova 5-3 Williams*
Pironkova falls behind love-15 and is pushed to a second serve at 30-all, but she holds comfortably from there, capping the hold with a 109mph ace out wide. Williams will now serve to stay in the first set.
First set: *Pironkova 4-3 Williams
Williams holds at love, closing out the hold with her eighth winner (against five unforced errors). The American’s serve is keeping her afloat so far with 10 of 13 first-serve points won (77%), but she will need to improve her first-serve percentage (54%), especially if Pironkova manages to sustain this level.
First set: Pironkova 4-2 Williams*
Pironkova races through another service game. She’s lost only two of the 14 points on her serve. Williams is looking to avoid backhand-to-backhand exchanges by playing heavily to her opponent’s forehand, but Pironvoka’s movement and point construction have mostly thwarted the tactic so far.
Pironkova breaks in fifth game of first set!
First set: *Pironkova 3-2 Williams
Pironkova gets her teeth into a Williams service game, ripping a forehand winner from the baseline for 30-all. Then Williams mixes in her first double fault to give Pironkova her first break-point opportunity of the day. The American saves it with a 104mph ace down the middle, but an unforced error off the backhand on the next point gives Pironkova a second look at a break. This time she converts, pounding a backhand winner down the line from a step inside the baseline to nab the early break.
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First set: Pironkova 2-2 Williams*
A promising start for Pironkova, who holds at love. Williams, who didn’t get a single ball back into play in the game, is having trouble reading the serve of the Bulgarian, who’s won eight of nine points on her racket.
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First set: Pironkova 1-1 Williams*
Pironkova, surprisingly, opens with an ace: 108mph down the center. She follows with a forehand winner from the baseline to settle a 15-shot rally, then a service winner for 40-love. Pironkova gifts Williams one back with a forehand error, but holds on the next point with a forehand passing winner as Williams comes to net.
First set: *Pironkova 0-1 Williams (*denotes next server)
Williams is on serve to start the match and is quick off the mark, following a service winner with back-to-back aces: 108mph out wide and 115mph down the middle. Pironkova finally gets a ball back in play and on the board with a drop shot/lob combo winner, then pushes it to 40-30 when Williams misfires on a forehand. But Williams responds with her third ace to close out the hold in her opening service game.
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The players have emerged from the tunnel into Arthur Ashe Stadium for today’s first quarter-final. Williams is unbeaten in four previous meetings with Pironkova including a pair of straight-sets wins in their two hard-court matches. Another straightforward outcome would very much be to the American’s benefit given the quick turnaround before tomorrow’s women’s semi-finals.
Hello and welcome to Arthur Ashe Stadium for Wednesday’s daytime twinbill. A pair of quarter-final matches are on the menu with Serena Williams facing Bulgaria’s Tsvetana Pironkova, followed by an all-Russian clash betwen Andrey Rublev and Daniil Medvedev.
Today’s opener is a matchup between two of the nine mothers in this year’s draw. The third-seeded Williams, who missed more than a year after having a daughter in 2017, will continue her quest for a record-tying 24th major title against the unseeded Pironkova, who is playing her first tournament after a three-year hiatus where she gave birth to a son. The winner advances to a semi-final matchup on Thursday against either No 16 Elise Mertens or unseeded Victoria Azarenka, who face off at 7pm local time.
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Bryan will be here shortly, in the meantime here’s Kevin Mitchell on Serena Williams’s campaign:
Nobody in tennis suffers for her art like Serena Williams – except maybe her one-time doubles partner, Andy Murray. On the women’s Tour, nobody retreats into her own world so completely under pressure, external and self-induced, to then emerge like a butterfly from a chrysalis and fly free.
For as long as she stays in the fight this week at Flushing Meadows, the greatest player of her generation will become more introspective, irascible, monosyllabic and explosive in pursuit of a 24th grand slam title. If she wins the final point of the tournament to move alongside Margaret Court after nearly three fruitless seasons, she will smile, thank the absent crowd and let go of the anxiety that gripped her so worryingly in the first set of her win over Sloane Stephens on Saturday.
You can read the full article below: