Serena Takes Career Edge Over Serena at US Open
Some of the early-career meetings of the Williams sisters were sketchy affairs, with both sisters conflicted on facing a sibling and the resulting disappointment of an inevitable loser. But in the 17th meeting between the sisters on Wednesday night in the quarterfinals at the 2008 US Open, few feelings for the fellow sibling were held in regard as both sisters put on a clinic of power hitting reminiscent of a men’s match.
When the smoke cleared it was Serena gaining the career 9-8 edge with a 7-6(6), 7-6(7) win, keeping the younger Williams in the race for the No. 1 ranking with a tournament title.
The elder Williams sister squandered several opportunities on break points and in the final tiebreaks, and after a challenge by Venus on match point, the younger Williams sister exited the victor in a bittersweet win.
“I try not to look at her because if I did I might feel sorry,” Serena said. “I love her so much, she’s my best friend.”
Dinara Safina, the No. 7-ranked player in the world who can leap all the way to No. 1 with a US Open win, was the other quarterfinal winner Wednesday, topping Flavia Pennetta 6-2, 6-3. The 22-year-old Russian, who earlier in the week was literally crying to her coach on a practice court regarding her exhaustion following a long summer and the Beijing Olympics, has gathered herself in time for the semifinal and a date with Serena Williams.
“Already yesterday I was practicing, and I had already a smile on the face,” Safina said. “I was like, ‘O.K., now I can play and move.’”
Pennetta, the No. 16 seed, was overwhelmed by the powerful Russian’s ground game.
“She was playing unbelievable, you know,” Pennetta said. “She didn’t give me a lot of chance.”
Serena Williams leads the head-to-head with Safina 3-1, though the Russian won their most recent meeting earlier this year on clay.
“I really look forward to playing her,” Serena said of Safina. “I haven’t played her in a while and she’s playing so well.”
In the men’s feature match that ended near 2 a.m., world No. 1 Rafael Nadal defeated unseeded American Mardy Fish 3-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 to book a spot in the semis.
“This is one of the things that we players discuss all the time. There should be a limit on when to start. But we know that the TV rules in this,” Nadal said. “I think I’m going to end up sleeping at 5 a.m. I’ve got to go eat. With all the attention on the match, it takes a while to unwind. There’s nothing else you can do.”
In the semis Nadal will meet Scot Andy Murray, who came through to his first Slam semifinal in less-than-sparking fashion.
Murray made things difficult for himself with the specter of a career-first Grand Slam semifinal looming, but the Scot finally persevered Wednesday with a 7-6(2), 7-6(1), 4-6, 7-5 victory over No. 17 seed Juan Martin Del Potro at the US Open.
“I let it slip a little but Juan fought so hard and got the crowd behind him,” Murray said.
Del Potro entered the match on a run of 23 consecutive victories — two on clay, then two on hardcourts. The run left the towering Argentine a bit winded, and Murray was happy to get through despite a few chokey moments.
“For me, I don’t care what happens throughout the course of the match, as long as I win,” Murray said. “I played the big points great. In the first two sets, I played really well in the tiebreaks. And when I broke a string on my racket, I started to serve a few double faults and lost the rhythm a little bit.”
On court Wednesday is men’s quarterfinal action in (2) Roger Federer vs. Gilles Muller, and (3) Novak Djokovic vs. (8) Andy Roddick.
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