World number one Serena Williams is a step closer to being the first tennis player to win a calendar-year Grand Slam since German phenomenon Steffi Graf. She beat her older sister Venus to reach the US Open semi-finals.
Despite her sister pushing her to a third set on Tuesday evening, Serena Williams managed to overcome Venus 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 – and move two wins from completing the first calendar Grand Slam in 27 years.
The US Open quarterfinal match was Serena’s 11th three-set victory at a major tournament this year. Williams hopes to become the first player since Steffi Graf in 1988 to take all four major titles in a single season – the French Open, Australian Open, Wimbledon, and finally, the US Open.
In front of a star-studded crowd at the Arthur Ashe stadium at Flushing Meadows, Serena played nearly perfectly in the first set to win 6-2, but then faltered in the second and lost to her sister at 1-6.
She broke Venus’ serve right away in the third set, and realizing the importance of the moment to her historic goal, began celebrating loudly after each winner – unusual behavior for matches against her older sister.
Venus held her own in the last two rounds but, like so many others, was unable to beat Serena, who emerged from the set with a victorious 6-3.
Raucous applause filled the stadium as Serena hugged her sister, ecstatic at her win.
Serena advances to the semi-finals to face off against Italy’s Roberta Vinci, who is ranked 43rd and will be playing in her first Grand Slam semifinal. She has never beaten Williams.
If Williams takes the US Open, she will tie Steffi Graf’s Open Era record of 22 singles titles.