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Serena grabs 100th US Open win as record title nears

By The Assam Tribune

NEW YORK, Sept 4: Serena Williams earned her 100th win at the US Open on Tuesday with a brutal 44-minute demolition of Wang Qiang, firing an ominous warning to rivals in her pursuit of a record-tying 24th Grand Slam title.

Six-time US Open champion Williams dismantled Chinese 18th seed Wang 6-1, 6-0 in a complete mismatch that was the quickest at this year�s tournament to set up a semifinal clash with Ukrainian trailblazer Elina Svitolina.

Williams brought up a century of US Open wins to move to within one of the all-time leader Chris Evert.

�It�s really unbelievable, literally. From when I first started here, I think I was 16, I didn�t think I would ever get to 100. I didn�t think I would still be out here,� Williams said.

The 37-year-old American is seeking a 24th major title to match Margaret Court�s longstanding record, and smashed 25 winners against first-time Slam quarterfinalist Wang, who failed to hit a single one.

The 27-year-old Wang had not lost a set during her best Slam run that included a defeat of reigning French Open champion Ashleigh Barty in the last 16, but she was powerless to stop a Williams onslaught at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

�When I play someone who is playing really well, I know I have to either step it up or go home and I wasn�t ready to go home. I had to come out here and play really well,� said Williams, suffering no ill effects from the ankle she rolled in her previous match.

�Physically I�m feeling great. More than anything I�m just having fun every time I come out here.�

Wang, trying to become just the fourth Chinese player to reach the last four of a Slam, won just four points in the second set and 15 in total.

�It�s not easy to play against her,� Wang said. �The power, like, I cannot handle it. Just too much for me.�

Williams captured her last Slam title at the 2017 Australian Open while pregnant and hasn�t won the US Open since 2014.

Fifth seed Svitolina defeated Britain�s Johanna Konta 6-4, 6-4 to become the first Ukrainian to reach the US Open semifinals, matching her run to the last four at Wimbledon in July.

�It feels amazing. It was a very, very tough match. We were both striking the ball well. It was quite even,� Svitolina said. �I�m very, very happy the way I handled the pressure.�

Svitolina watched a pair of match points pass her by at 5-3 on her opponent�s serve as Konta gamely fought to stay alive, but the Ukrainian closed out victory in the following game.

Svitolina had already knocked out two-time former champion Venus Williams and 2017 runner-up Madison Keys and is in a class of her own as the only Ukrainian woman to reach this stage at a major. � AFP

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