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US Open: Serena Williams secures Grand Slam record as Venus exits

By Tom Allnutt

Published 06/09/2016

Anguish: Venus Williams exits the US Open in New York last night
Anguish: Venus Williams exits the US Open in New York last night

Serena Williams set a new Grand Slam record of 308 victories as she powers towards an unprecedented seventh US Open title - but won't have to overcome elder sister Venus to achieve the feat.

No.1 seed Serena, 34, booked her place in the quarter-finals with a comfortable 6-2 6-3 win over Kazakhstani Yaroslava Shvedova - which took her beyond Roger Federer's tally of 307 Slam triumphs - and could have met sixth-seeded Venus in the semi-finals.

But Venus, 36, went out to Karolina Pliskova after a tough battle in the last 16 last night.

The Czech 10th seed needed five match points before finally clinching victory over former champion Venus, the No.6 seed.

Pliskova, 24, was broken when serving for the match at 40-0 but recovered to win 4-6 6-4 7-6 (7-3) and reach her first Grand Slam quarter-final.

Serena's opponent in the last eight will be Simona Halep, who had to work hard to beat Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2 7-5.

"I had to run a lot and I tried to be more aggressive," said No.5 seed Halep, who made the semi-finals last year - the Romanian's best showing at the US Open.

"This was very special today to win. I want to enjoy today."

The duo were no strangers, having split 10 career matches, with the gritty Spaniard winning both of their previous Grand Slam match-ups. Seven of the 10 matches had gone all the way to three sets.

So it was a bit unexpected when Halep sprinted into a 4-0 opening-set lead, breaking the No.11 seed in the first and third games. The third game was a marathon, stretching to six deuces before Halep won the game on her fifth break point.

Suarez Navarro, bidding to equal her best Open showing of the final eight in 2013, fought back, making every point a battle onto itself. Halep finally claimed the first set in 46 minutes on a backhand error.

How closely matched the duo were was reflected in the first-set statistics. Halep had 10 winners and nine unforced errors, while the Spaniard had 10 winners and 10 errors.

The final set was similar in terms of style of play but also had added tension in the final games, with Navarro rallying from 3-5 down.

At 5-5, however, she dropped her serve when Halep cracked a forehand winning return.

When Navarro dumped a backhand volley into the net on match point, Halep emphatically pumped her fist and blew kisses to the crowd.

Belfast Telegraph

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