NEW YORK — Serena Williams was not troubled one bit by the right ankle she rolled in her previous match. Didn’t get much resistance from her opponent, either.
Looking as dominant as can be, Williams moved just fine and powered her way into the U.S. Open semifinals by overwhelming 18th-seeded Wang Qiang of China 6-1, 6-0 in a mere 44 minutes Tuesday night to move closer to a 24th Grand Slam singles trophy.
Williams had rolled her ankle during her fourth-round match but never showed any signs that it was an issue.
“Physically, I’m feeling great,” Williams said, “and more than anything, I’m having fun every time I come out here.”
Why shouldn’t she? When she plays like this, it’s hard to imagine anyone else ending up with the championship Saturday.
Williams grabbed the first five games in about 15 minutes. Then, after dropping one game, Williams collected the next 11 points in a row and every remaining game.
Just one indication of how lopsided this was: Williams finished with 25 winners to zero for Wang, who was playing in her first major quarterfinal. One other: The total points were 50-15.
Williams collected her 100th match win at Flushing Meadows, where she is a six-time champion.
“From when I first started here … I never thought that I would get to 100. Didn’t even cross my mind I would still be out here,” said Williams who turns 38 later this month. “But I love what I do.”
The American will face No. 5 seed Elina Svitolina of Ukraine for a berth in the final. Svitolina eliminated 16th-seeded Johanna Konta of Britain 6-4, 6-4 earlier Tuesday.
“She’s had a great year, as well,” Williams said. “I feel like she wants to go one further this time, so I have to be able to come out again and play really well.”
With her boyfriend, Gael Monfils, watching in the stands, a day before he plays his quarterfinal, Svitolina got to the semifinals at a second consecutive major tournament after never having been that far before.
“Now,” Svitolina joked about Monfils, “he needs to step up his game.”
No. 13 Monfils of France takes on No. 24 Matteo Berrettini of Italy, and Rafael Nadal meets No. 20 Diego Schwartzman of Argentina on Wednesday, when the women’s quarterfinals will be No. 13 Belinda Bencic of Switzerland vs. No. 23 Donna Vekic of Croatia, and No. 15 Bianca Andreescu of Canada vs. No. 25 Elise Mertens of Belgium.
Tuesday night’s last match featured Roger Federer against Grigor Dimitrov, with the winner playing the man the U.S. Open crowds love to hate, Daniil Medvedev.
The No. 5-seeded Medvedev thought he might need to quit early in the first set of his quarterfinal after pulling a muscle in his upper left leg. His opponent, three-time major champion Stan Wawrinka, never believed Medvedev would stop. Wawrinka was right. And now Medvedev, the best player on the men’s tour on hard courts in recent weeks, is headed to his first Grand Slam semifinal.
Medvedev has drawn plenty of attention at Flushing Meadows for the way he sarcastically thanked booing crowds, trolling them by suggesting their venom was reason he kept winning. Now maybe folks will pay more attention to the 23-year-old Russian’s unusual brand of shape-shifting tennis, which carried him past Wawrinka 7-6 (6), 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 despite 12 double-faults and a body that’s just short of breaking down.
Asked how he’d describe his relationship with the fans in New York, who jeered him when he was introduced in Arthur Ashe Stadium but offered cheers later, Medvedev replied: “I have two words. First one, for sure, ‘electric,’ because it’s electric. And second one, ‘controversy.’”
“So many people like my interviews. So many people don’t like me,” he said with a smile. “I can just say: I try to be myself, guys.”
Reprising his professional wrestling persona briefly, he added, “I have to say, ‘Sorry, guys.’ And, ‘Thank you,’” and then he laughed.
To say Williams was the overwhelming favorite heading into this stage of the two-week tournament would be a massive understatement.
Her accomplishments and accolades far outweigh those of all of the other remaining players in the women’s field.
Not only was Williams the only one of the eight female quarterfinalists to ever have won a Grand Slam singles title, but she also was the only who even has reached a major final before.
While Williams reached her 38th career Slam semifinal by beating Wang, the other seven quarterfinalists had participated in a combined total of five major semis, going 0-5 in those matches.