The Williams sisters went one-for-one on Monday at the US Open as world No. 1 Serena Williams kept her hopes alive to retain the No. 1 ranking at tournament’s end, but elder sister Venus was brought down by a tattooed break-out star from the Czech Republic.
The younger Williams sister punished unseeded Yaroslava Shvedova 6-2, 6-3, setting the record for most grand slam tournament wins for either a man or woman in the Open Era at 308 and advancing into the quarterfinals.
“I just feel like I’m going out there doing what I need to do,” said the world No. 1, seeming keeping at bay the shoulder injury she battled in August. “I’m not overplaying, I’m not underplaying. I’m just trying to play my way into this tournament.”
In the quarters Serena will face a familiar nemesis, No. 5 seed Simona Halep, who worked past Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro, 6-2, 7-5.
“I had to run a lot and I tried to be more aggressive today,” Halep said. “This was very special today to win.”
Williams leads Halep 7-1 in their career meetings.
While Serena punched through to the quarters, Venus could not. The No. 6 seed led by a set but couldn’t defeat No. 10-seeded Czech Karolina Pliskova, who upset the former No. 1 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(3).
“It was very difficult when I lost my serve at 6-5,” said the 24-year-old Pliskova, who finally put away Venus on her fifth match point. “But I am very happy to come back to win.”
For Pliskova it continues a winning streak that started her tournament before the US Open at Cincinnati where she beat No. 3 Garbine Muguruza and No. 2 Angie Kerber, stopping Kerber from ascending to the No. 1 ranking.
“Obviously, my serve is my biggest weapon,” said Pliskova.
She will point that weapon next at 18-year-old breakout Croat Ana Konjuh who upset No. 4 seed Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4, 6-4 in the final night match.
“I remembered Wimbledon, I had two match points there [against Radwanska],” said Konjuh. “So I just went for it this time.”
Just three years ago Konjuh raised the trophy as the US Open girls’ champion. It will be the first-ever meeting between Pliskova and Konjuh.
On court Tuesday in Flushing Meadows will be (2) Angie Kerber vs. last year’s finalist (7) Roberta Vinci, and the all-unseeded Caroline Wozniacki vs. Latvian Anastasija Sevastova quarterfinal.
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