Serena Williams reaches US Open semi-finals with win over Karolina Pliskova

Rafael Nadal was forced to go the distance in an epic five-setter against Dominic Thiem in their US Open quarter-final, while Serena Williams fought back to beat Karolina Pliskova and reach the semi-finals in NY.

Pliskova started off strong, breaking serve in the third game and jumping out to a 4-2 lead in the first set.

With the win, Williams will take on Latvia's Anastasija Sevastova in the semis, who knocked off No. 3 Sloane Stephens 6-2, 6-3.

Williams served out the match with three aces and an overhead to put an exclamation point on a win to avenge her most recent loss at the Open in the 2016 semifinals.

"I really feel like right now I'm playing free. I'm just on my way on the tour and doing the best I can". Williams needs one more major title to match Margaret Court's record of 24.

Pliskova nonethess enjoyed a solid start, reading the Williams serve to break first and hold three break points to take a 4-1 lead.

"When I get to a grand slam, I feel I want to play really hard. I'm just taking it one at a time, literally".

"When you don't play big points well, the match can get away from you", she said. "Doesn't matter that she's No. 17 or 18 now".

Sevastova, who avenged last year's quarter-final loss to Stephens in NY to reach her first major semi-final, converted five of her eight break points and saved seven of the nine against her on the Arthur Ashe Stadium court.

And after claiming the final two games in the first, she continued in a similar vein in the second, breaking Pliskova to 0 in the second game and moving 4-0 up. "I think she lost also her nerves a little bit, it's normal".

Serving for the match, the Latvian raced out to triple match point and although Stephens saved two of them, Sevastova sealed the win when the 25-year-old American pushed a backhand into the net.

Pliskova got another chance when Williams batted a forehand into the net, but another booming serve, a backhand victor and an unreturnable serve saw her negotiate the danger. Even after an impressive win Tuesday night, Williams refused to fall into the trap of making public predictions about her chances to win a seventh US Open title.

Pliskova's demise, meanwhile, means none of the top 10 seeds will be present in the final rounds of the tournament for a second consecutive slam.

"She's been playing really well for actually a long time", Williams said of her semi-final opponent.

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