Serena powers past Pliskova

Serena Williams demonstrated her awesome powers of recovery to move into the semi-finals of the US Open on Wednesday with a straight sets win over Karolina Pliskova.

The world number 26 got off to a slow start against her Czech opponent, serving up a host of double faults and errors, which the eighth seed Pliskova capitalised on to race into a 3-1 lead.

Pliskova then had three chances to break for 4-1, but failed to take the chances as Williams suddenly rediscovered her mojo, the 23-time slam champ rattling off eight straight games as she recovered from 4-2 down to win the first set and race into a 4-0 lead in the second.

It was then Pliskova’s turn to stage a comeback, recovering one break to make it 4-2, before forcing four break points in the next game only to miss the opportunity to get back on serve.

From there, the result was never in doubt as Williams finished off with three aces and an overhead to seal her place in the final four.

It was sweet revenge for the American, who beat Williams in the 2016 semi-finals at Flushing Meadows, a defeat which ended her record 186-week reign at the top of the WTA rankings.

“I felt so bad because everyone out here was cheering and I wasn’t winning and I thought I’ve got to try harder, I’ve got to do harder,” Williams said afterwards.

“I really feel like right now I’m playing free because I was having a baby this time last year, so I have nothing to prove. I’m just on my way (back) on the tour and doing the best I can.”

She will play Anastasija Sevastova in the semi after the Latvian defeated reigning champion Sloane Stephens 6-2, 6-3.

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