Number three-seeded Serena Williams pulled off a comeback victory after being down the first set and a break down to beat Tsvetana Pironkova at the Arthur Ashe Stadium on Wednesday with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 score to make her 11th consecutive US Open semifinal appearance.
“It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish, right?” Williams said.
Two more victories to go and Williams would claim a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title.
“In the beginning, I was a little fatigued, for whatever reason,” Williams said. ”Obviously I can’t do that if I want to keep winning, so I need to figure that out.”
Pironkova, on the other hand, fought an incredible battle despite being unranked from the WTA rankings. This marks her first tournament since playing the All England Club three years ago as the 32-year-old Bulgarian decided to leave the tour and became a mother first.
“It’s unbelievable,” Williams said about Pironkova’s impressive return to competition. “Wow. I couldn’t even do that.”
“It just shows me how tough moms are. Whenever you can birth a baby, honestly, you can do anything,” Williams said afterward.
“You play a match and you go home and you’re still changing diapers,” said Williams, whose daughter turned 3 on Sept. 1 and is a little older than Pironkova’s son. “It’s like a double life. It’s really surreal.”
Williams’ next battle will be against Victoria Azarenka, who have returned to the US Open semifinals for the first time since 2013 by winning over Elise Mertens with scores 6-1, 6-0, on Wednesday. Williams leads her head-to-head series against Azarenka, 18-4, including beating her in the 2012 and 2013 finals in New York.
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