Serena Williams (USA) vs. [PR] Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL)
You can always count on Williams to make it exciting for her fans. Yet, it’s different these days, gone are the days when her fans were confident that she would pull off another amazing Houdini escape. All that aside, this was not an easy opponent for Williams, as Pironkova has pushed Williams before in two of their four previous matches. Thus, Williams was probably expecting the battle.
PIRONKOVA CAME READY TO FIGHT
The Bulgarian dominated in all serving stats and perhaps was a tad more versatile than her opponent. She protected her serve well, never giving the American any opportunity to break her serve. Despite serving seven aces in the first set, Williams struggled to hold her serve and one break was all the Bulgarian needed to steal the first set from the American.Embed from Getty Images
HOW WOULD WILLIAMS RESPOND?
Williams had to fight for the victory and the first thing she needed to do was win the second set; yet it was not a walk in the park. Although her serving statistics improved in the second set, she still seemed off her rhythm. The tension was back in her game, something that is more obvious now, the closer she gets to the title. She was not moving as freely as she could. However, she was figuring out her opponent and giving herself opportunities to even the match and that she did; she broke twice to even the match.
DID THE BULGARIAN BELIEVE?
She probably did; however, once Williams secured the second set, she was all business. The third set was almost perfect. Her serve, still her best weapon, helped her to crush the will of her opponent. She did not give Pironkova any opportunity to break her serve and broke her opponent twice to secure the third set and match. With the 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory, Williams advanced to her fourteenth US Open semifinals. She awaits the winner of the Elise Mertens–Victoria Azarenka match.Embed from Getty Images
Williams has 1:0 H2H against Mertens (2019 hard court) and an 18:4 H2H against Azarenka. Of the two, the Belarusian poses the greater threat; however, at this stage, either opponent can potentially deny Williams the opportunity to get to the final.