She had a 67% success rate on first serves compared to Serena's 55% in the set and hit only 7 unforced errors to Serena's 13. This turned into a test, and she passed it.
But she responded impressively to win 6-0 4-6 6-3 and set up a last-eight clash with eighth seed Karolina Pliskova, the last player to beat her at Flushing Meadows in the semi-finals two years ago.
"This is my job and this is what I do. I'm going to do it the best I can", she added.
Meanwhile, Williams says she hopes to have more children in the future - but maybe not until after she finishes playing. The Aussie, the only player in the top half of the draw making her round-16 debut at Grand Slam, is the second youngest remaining player in that half behind Mertens, the first Belgian to reach the Round of 16 in NY since 2010 (Wickmayer and Clijsters), who's 7 months younger. Sure, that's nothing compared to Williams' 23 major titles, but it's something.
Kaia Kanepi, of Estonia congratulates Serena Williams after their fourth round match of the U.S. Open tennis tournament. Kanepi was matching Williams' power with booming groundstrokes of her own. And Williams began making more and more mistakes.
17th-seeded Williams dominated the opening set but was then drawn into a three-set tussle, before eventually moving past Kanepi after 96 minutes of play.
Williams took control of the final set with a break for a 2-0 lead, her 18 aces and 47 total winners proving enough in the end to put her through. And after getting to triple match point, she brought Kanepi to net and won with a passing shot. From there, Williams smacked an ace at 118 miles per hour, followed by a service victor at 113 miles per hour to go up 3-0, and that essentially was that. While out with an injury, Kanepi took a course to learn how to drive on the frozen-over roads. "Unreturnable", she called it.
Williams spoke out after the football stars watched her trounce sister Venus Williams in their U.S. Open match. "So I had to realize and live in reality". Especially after a C-section, it takes a little bit longer. I was, like, a dark horse. "Wouldn't you love to see one of these National Football League owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! I was just happy to get through it, to be honest", Williams said in a TV interview on court at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Seeking a 23rd Grand Slam title - and her first since the 2017 Australian Open - Williams said the greatest improvement she'd made since her return to competition in March was fitness.
"I know she has a big game, but I have a big game too".
It certainly was. And that chase-down, turn-around, hook-shot of a passing victor showed a glimpse of how the No. 3 Stephens can go from defense to offense with flair, as she did repeatedly during her 6-3, 6-3 victory over No. 15 Elise Mertens of Belgium in the fourth round.
"That desire has not gone down at all", she said.
Nadal almost made it a sweep - something he was probably pushing hard for after playing a four-set match that lasted almost 4 1/2 hours two days earlier - but could not close out Basilashvili when he was two points from winning the third-set tiebreaker.
Nadal, a three-time Open victor and the defending champion, needed four sets but topped Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-3, 6-3, 6-7 (6-8), 6-4 in the fourth round on Arthur Ashe Stadium. Make your opponent play an extra ball.
"Winning a big game and a very important game and a really tight game, I think it was just a relief". When they appeared on the big screen during the match, the pair received robust applause.
Defending champion Sloane Stephens returned to the U.S. Open quarterfinals with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over No. 15 seed Elise Mertens of Belgium. "I played a solid match so I couldn't really ask for any more". "I've literally grown up on this court".