23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams overcame a slow start and some good tennis from her opponent, Tsvetana Pironkova, to advance to the semi-finals of the US Open in New York on Wednesday. Williams is now two wins away from tying the all-time record of most Grand Slam singles titles in tennis history and said she was happy with the way she finished her match when she spoke to the press in New York.
“You know, sometimes you just have to start — it’s not how you start; it’s how you finish, right? I definitely agree. I feel like, yeah, I don’t even know, like, some of these matches, you know, you’re playing Serena, so it’s, like, close your eyes and hit as hard as you can and it doesn’t matter.
So I kind of have to adjust to that. Yeah, I just feel like — I’m okay. I’m ready to play three sets every match if I have to. It doesn’t matter. A win is a win.”
Serena Williams is through to the semi-finals of the US Open in New York
Williams needed to be at her best to overcome a fellow mom – Pironkova, who was playing her first tournament in three years during which she had her first child.
“Well, I think when you’re a mom, you overcome so much just to become that and to be that. And then I feel like, you know, age is really how you feel mentally and how your body is doing and how you physically are able to keep up.
If you think of it as just a number, then that’s all it is. So, yeah, I just think people always say you’re not always to do something at a certain age, but, you know, with technology and time, we can kind of make that age a little bit longer.”
One of the highlights of the match came in the second when Williams hit a left-handed return of serve which helped her break her opponent’s serve. The 38 year old says she was just trying to do everything she could to win the match.
“Yeah, that was intense. At that point I was fighting so hard. I don’t know. Actually been hitting a little lefty in my practice but not on purpose. I noticed the other day, like, I hit a lefty shot and I was just in practice being super intense, and I guess it came through in the match (smiling).
So when you’re in a position like that, and I was just trying to stay, this is the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam, and I was just trying to do everything I can whether righty or lefty.” Up next for Serena is another mom and former World No.
1 – Victoria Azarenka, who dropped just one game in her win over Belgian Elise Mertens. “Yeah, I just gotta be a little bit better, really, and just expect people to go lights out and just be ready for lights out.”
The semi-finals between Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka — whom she beat in the US Open final in 2012 and 2013 – will be played on Thursday.