Williams downs Kvitova to make last four

Venus Williams clinched a place in the semi-finals of the US Open on Tuesday evening with a thrilling 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(2) win over Petra Kvitova in a third-set tiebreaker.

Ninth seed Williams will now face unseeded compatriot Sloane Stephens in the semi-final as she bids for a first US Open singles title since 2001.

Victory in the two hour and 35 minute epic also means the 37-year old Williams will return to the Top 5 for the first time since 2011.

It was Kvitova who drew first blood before a packed crowd on Arthur Ashe, breaking Williams in the third game to race into a 3-1 lead. Williams was not flustered however, and promptly broke back before winning the next four games to take the first set.

The Czech dusted off that setback and went on the offensive early in the second, breaking Williams again to lead 3-0 before a delay so that the roof could be closed.

Williams went on the attack after the break, ramping up the pressure on Kvitova’s serve in the next two games, but the 13th seed managed to hold on and serve out the set to level the match.

After trading a couple of breaks early in the third, the rest of the set went with serve to take the match into a do-or-die tiebreaker.

And it was Williams who held her nerve, taking control of the tie-break with some confident hitting to build a 6-1 lead, before sealing the match at the second attempt as Kvitova’s return went wide.

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