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US Open: Serena Williams, Dominic Thiem advance into pre-quarters

Third seed Williams essayed a signature comeback and served 12 aces to edge past her American compatriot Stephens 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 in one hour and 43 minutes.

SNS | New Delhi |

23-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams and world number 3 Dominic Thiem advanced into the pre-quarters of the women’s and men’s singles competition respectively of the ongoing US Open at the Flushing Meadows in New York.

Serena, who is eyeing her seventh US Open title, rallied to beat the 2017 champion Sloane Stephens 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 in one hour and 43 minutes. The third seed American put on display a signature comeback and served 12 aces in total to edge past her fellow countrymate.

“It was intense I have to say. We always have some really incredible matches and it brings out the best of my fitness when I play Sloane. I tried to stay calm and be more serene after the loss of the first set. I knew it was important for me just to keep trying, just to keep going,” Xinhua news agency quoted Williams as saying.

“Right now I’m really focused on the US Open, and nothing else I can think about right now,” said Williams, who has won six of her 23 Grand Slam singles’ titles at the US Open.

Stephens had won a double break to take 5-2 lead before serving for the opening set and eventually winning it. However, Serena was not to be dropped behind as she staged a comeback right from the beginning in the following set.

Serena raised her game and served much better in the second set, lifting her first-serve percentage from 50 to 76 per cent. By breaking twice, Williams won the second set to level the match.

The third set was a complete different story from the rest of the match as Stephens hardly reciprocated with anything to Serena’a dominance.

The 38-year-old will take on the 15th-seeded Maria Sakkari of Greece in the last 16, who stunned Williams at the Western and Southern Open last month.

Meanwhile, Austrian second seed Thiem Thiem defeated 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic 6-2, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3. Thiem will next face 15th seed Felix Auger Aliassime in the Round of 16.

“I think the quick start was more because of him. He had two very tough opening rounds, long matches,” Thiem said in his on-court interview as quoted on the official website of ATP.

“He was returning well and set three and four he raised his level a lot. I didn’t really play worse these sets but he showed what he’s capable of and that’s why it was really tough … in these matches you need a little bit of luck, from time to time it’s really close,” the 27-year-old added.