Williams, Keys hoping to make it an American US Open final

Anastasija Sevastova stuns defending US Open champ Sloane Stephens

Anastasija Sevastova stuns defending US Open champ Sloane Stephens

Sevastova, who avenged last year's quarter-final loss to Stephens in NY to reach her first major semi-final, converted five of her eight break points and saved seven of the nine against her on the Arthur Ashe Stadium court.

A tale of two champions unfolded in the quarter-finals as defending champion Sloane Stephens bowed out of the US Open, while Serena Williams locked her sites on another Slam semi-final this year.

Williams would rattle off eight wins a row, going up 4-0 in the second set, before Pliskova ended her streak and won the next two games.

Keys has beaten Osaka all three times they have played, including this year at the French Open and two years ago at the U.S. Open when she rallied from a 5-1 deficit in the third set.

"The crowd was really rooting for me and I felt so bad because everyone out here was cheering and I wasn't winning", she explained.

"I still know that no matter whether I'm in the semi-finals or the finals, I have a really long way to go to win that".

Wimbledon runner-up Williams, who returned to the sport in March after giving birth last September, is also trying to keep thoughts of how close she is to matching Australian Margaret Court's all-time Grand Slam record out of her mind.

She'll next take on first-time major semifinalist Anastasija Sevastova.

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This time past year, Serena Williams was battling through a very different challenge as she gave birth to her first child, Alexis Olympia. She received a wild card into last year's U.S. Open and became the youngest player ever to make the girls' final.

"I want to just be able to get past the semis here", Williams said.

In the final at Flushing Meadows, Vandweghe and Barty will face the No. 2 seeds, Kristina Mladenovic and Timea Babos, who eliminated Samantha Stosur and Zhang Shuai 6-4, 7-6 (4) in the semifinals.

Pliskova offered this guess about what was happening to Williams: "Maybe she was a little bit nervous". Tough loss past year. The Czech, playing in her third straight US Open quarter-final, applied some pressure with a backhand victor, Serena sent a down the line victor wide, double-faulted and succumbed on the third break point chance. Williams wobbled again in the second set but served her way out of trouble before clinching a 6-4 6-3 victory.

From then on it went by serve with Pliskova serving out comfortably to 15 to maintain her 1 game lead and go 3-1 up. Even when I did have my break opportunities, I just wasn't playing the points well at all.

It took Williams a while to get into it but it was inevitable that the American eventually would fight back, and in this game she did delivering punishing hard forehands which forced the errors out of Pliskova.

Pliskova is asked about the muggy conditions and says that she's grateful she hasn't played any three-setters in NY, having advanced to the quarters without dropping a set.

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