Serena Williams ended Tsvetana Pironkova‘s magical US Open run, beating the fellow toddler mom 4-6 6-3 6-2 to advance to the semifinals.
Playing her first tournament in more than three years, the 32-year-old Pironkova was the first player to establish lead in this quarterfinal, going 4-2 up and having two set points at 5-3 on Williams’ serve. After fighting for more than six minutes, the world No.8 Williams managed to hold that serve, but Pironkova won the first set in her service game that followed.
The second set was even more competitive, even though the scoreline may not suggest it. After the initial exchange of breaks, the set went with serve until the eighth game when Williams won a 24-shot rally to break Pironkova for a 5-3 lead and then closed her service game with three straight aces to take the match to a decider.
You know how Williams’ game needs some time to pick up steam and then she’s practically unstoppable. Well, that’s what happened once again. After taking control midway through the second set, Williams continued the momentum in the third set, confidently marching to victory as her Bulgarian opponent stayed competitive but not dangerous enough.
Williams now has 106 wins in New York, the most in the Open era. Moreover, she has 13 major titles on hard courts — the most of any player in the Open era.
When it comes to ranking projections, the currently unranked Pironkova will climb into the Top 150 with her quarterfinal appearance, whereas Williams can enter the Top 5 with the title here, otherwise a fall to No.9 is definitive.