Serena Williams shrugged off a shaky start to beat Czech Karolina Pliskova 6-4, 6-3 to make the US Open semi-finals for the 12th time in her stellar tennis career.

It was her 100th match on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The 23 Grand slam winner is now two matches away for record equalling 24 slams.

The 36 year-old also salvaged the day for hosts America, as defending champion, Sloane Stephens lost earlier to Latvian Anastasija Sevastova, while big-serving John Isner also bowed out for Argentine Juan Martin del Potro in the quarters.

Another American Madison Keys, finalist last year, is still in the hunt for a semi-final berth. She will meet Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro in a late match on Wednesday.

Next up for Serena is a semi-final clash with 19th seed Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia.

Serena who is bidding for a record seventh title at Flushing Meadows as well her 24th career Grand Slam crown, started sluggishly at the Arthur Ashe Stadium , allowing Pliskova to take a 3-1 lead in the opening set.

With the heat rule in effect and junior matches on the outside courts suspended earlier in the day, Williams made 22 unforced errors in the opening set but showed all of her big-match pedigree to battle back and close out the set by winning the last four games.

“The crowd was really rooting for me and I felt so bad because everyone out here was cheering and I wasn’t winning so I thought I had to try harder,” Williams said courtside.

“I really feel like right now I’m playing free. I was having a baby this time last year so I have nothing to prove.”

The second set was far more comfortable for the number 17 seed.

Two successive breaks of serve allowed Williams to win her eighth game in a row and open up a 4-0 lead, and she saw off a brief fightback from Pliskova before sending down her 13th ace to seal the match in one hour and 26 minutes.

“When I get to a Grand Slam, I feel I want to play really hard. I want to do really well. I love this game so maybe that’s why,” added Williams, who was beaten by Pliskova in the 2016 semi-finals.



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