Serena Williams kept her US Open campaign on track with a three-set win over Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi in the fourth round on Sunday.
The six-time champion, looking for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles title, won 6-0 4-6 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals.
“It wasn’t an easy match at all. She obviously knows how to play, she’s had a lot of big wins,” Williams said. “We always have tough matches. I was just happy to get through it to be honest.”
In the quarters, Williams will face eighth seed Karolina Pliskova in a repeat of the 2016 semifinal, won by the Czech.
Pliskova, working this fortnight with 1994 Wimbledon champion Conchita Martinez, got past Australia’s Ashleigh Barty 6-4 6-4.
“Hopefully Serena is gonna win, and we can play a match again on Arthur Ashe, like we did two years ago,” Pliskova said after her victory earlier in the day.
Williams looked unstoppable as she swept through the opening set against Kanepi in just 18 minutes, but the Estonian recovered to earn a 5-2 lead in the second and served out at the second time of asking.
Despite seeing two break points slip by that would have brought her back into the second set, Williams resumed her dominance in the third with an early break.
“I think the thing I improved most is my fitness, coming back from having a baby is really hard, she said.”
In another result, Anastasija Sevastova reached her third successive US Open quarterfinal thanks to a 6-3 1-6 6-0 win over fourth seed Elina Svitolina.
Sevastova will play the winner of the Sloane Stephens-Elise Mertens night match at Arthur Ashe Stadium. Should Stephens win, it would be a repeat of the Stephens-Sevastova quarterfinal of 2017.
Svitolina, meanwhile, was frank in her assessment of the loss.
“I think there is few things I have to sit down with my team and think about. I think physically I have to get much stronger since there have been a change in my body,” Svitolina told Sport360.
“I think it takes a little bit more time than I expected to get used to it, because I have to change a little bit my game style. Because playing the same way as I was playing last year, I know my body is not allowing me to show my best.”
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