Thu, Sep 07, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Williams wins, makes US Open history

MILESTONES:Kevin Anderson became the first South African to reach a Grand Slam semi-final, where he is to face Pablo Carreno Busta, the first to face four qualifiers

AFP, NEW YORK

The US’ Venus Williams returns to the Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitova in their US Open women’s singles quarter-final in New York on Tuesday.

Photo: AFP

Seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams on Tuesday became the oldest semi-finalist in US Open history at age 37 by defeating two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7/2).

US ninth seed Williams, seeking her third US Open crown, advanced to a matchup today against 83rd-ranked compatriot Sloane Stephens for a spot in Saturday’s final.

“I’m so fortunate to have won that match. It came down to the wire,” Williams said. “I try to tell myself enjoy the competition, enjoy the battle and I think I was able to do that.”

In men’s singles, South Africa’s Kevin Anderson reached a Grand Slam semi-final for the first time and is to face Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta, who will also be appearing in his maiden last-four at a major.

Stephens, who missed 11 months with a left foot injury before returning at Wimbledon, matched her best Grand Slam showing by outlasting Latvian 16th seed Anastasija Sevastova 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7/4).

“This is just incredible,” Stephens said. “When I started my comeback at Wimbledon I could never have dreamed of coming back and having these results. It’s indescribable.”

Stephens has won 13 of her past 15 matches and matched her 2013 Australian Open semi-final run for best Grand Slam effort.

Williams, who improved to 2-4 all-time against the Czech 13th seed, is to return to the world top five for the first time since January 2011, a span that saw her diagnosed with energy-sapping Sjogren syndrome.

Williams, the oldest Grand Slam semi-finalist since Martina Navratilova at Wimbledon in 1994, won the 2000 and 2001 US crowns. She was runner-up this year at Wimbledon and the Australian Open and could reach three Grand Slam finals in a year for the first time since 2002.

Kvitova battled back from a five-month absence after a knife-wielding home intruder injured her left hand in December last year.

“I’m glad I’m still able to compete on the high level against the top players, which I hope will give me some confidence to continue to play well, to know that it’s still there somewhere,” Kvitova said.

Legends Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal each practiced ahead of yesterday’s quarter-finals, in which wins by each would set up their first US Open meeting in an epic men’s semi-final tomorrow.

However, the other half of the draw is to offer a first-time Grand Slam finalist.

South African 28th seed Anderson downed 17th-seeded American Sam Querrey 7-6 (7/5), 6-7 (9/11), 6-3, 7-6 (9/7) to book a berth in tomorrow’s semi-finals.

Anderson, the first South African semi-finalist in any Grand Slam since Wayne Ferreira at the 2003 Australian Open, is to meet Spanish 12th seed Carreno Busta, who has not dropped a set, for a place in Sunday’s final.

Carreno Busta, the first player in any Grand Slam to face four qualifiers, cruised into his first Grand Slam semi-final by ousting Argentine 29th seed Diego Schartzman 6-4, 6-4, 6-2.

“Incredible,” Carreno Busta said. “It’s something that I always dreamed about, but something I never thought was going to arrive here. It’s a great feeling.”

With Anderson 2.02m tall and Querrey 1.97m, it was the tallest matchup ever so late in any Grand Slam.

Sevastova, who matched her best major run from last year at New York by ousting Maria Sharapova to reach the last eight, led 3-1 in the third set before Stephens rallied.

“I just told myself to keep fighting and stay consistent,” Stephens said. “I knew if I just stick with it and stayed in every point I’d have my opportunity and I did.”

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