US Open day 9 recap: Serena Williams and the American dream

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When asked about her famous victory over Serena in the 2016 US Open semi-finals, the Czech takes pride but is firmly looking forward.

In all, she struck 35 winners to 30 unforced errors, dictating play throughout while Pliskova managed just three aces and 19 unforced errors to 12 winners.

She handed her sister, Venus, the most lopsided loss of her season, survived a three-setter against a giant-killer who'd already unseated the No. 1 player in the world and overcame early-match jitters to beat a top-10 opponent for the first time since returning from maternity leave to secure a spot in the US Open semifinals for the 12th time in her career.

Thiem admitted he was hoping the hard courts of Flushing Meadows would prove "more comfortable" but he'll still face an uphill battle against the 17-time Grand Slam champion whose stellar 2018 campaign also includes Masters titles in Monte Carlo, Rome and Toronto.

While she gave up two straight games to Pliskova, and then narrowly dropped a third later on, Williams quickly finished her off to take the second set 6-3 and advance to the semis.

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Doesn't matter that she's number, what, 17 or 18 now. "I don't think there's any change with her game".

"I'd been a couple steps away at the last Grand Slam, so I'm definitely not ahead of myself", she said. She hits a good ball.

"Still long way to go, I think", she said.

When someone urged her to raise her level in the second set, Stephens replied, "I'm trying!"

"I started thinking, 'I had to try harder'".

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After Pliskova went up 40-0 in the 10th game only for Williams to roar back to win and take the first set, the American showed no signs of slowing.

Defending champion Stephens finds a familiar foe across the net in Sevastova, beaten by the American at the same stage a year ago as Stephens roared to the title as an unseeded player. The first time, Williams had arrived in NY in search of the calendar grand slam - an extraordinary feat last achieved by Steffi Graf in 1988.

"In the beginning, maybe she was a little bit nervous", Pliskova said. Now, she has not only made it to her maiden grand slam quarterfinal, but she also became the first Latvian woman to make it to the US Open semifinal.

"I just thought that I wasn't playing my best tennis". She's just going to ace you or play the best points on your chances.

Williams did drop her serve once in the second, coughing up one of her five double faults on break point as Pliskova narrowed the gap to 4-1.

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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.