Elina Svitolina expects a big challenge in the semi-finals of the US Open regardless of whether she faces Serena Williams or not.

Svitolina progressed to her second successive grand slam semi with a straight-sets win over Johanna Konta at Flushing Meadows on Tuesday.

The Ukrainian has enjoyed a very successful major season having also reached the last four of Wimbledon and the quarter-finals of the Australian Open.

She will next face the winner of six-time US Open champion Williams' clash with Wang Qiang.

Williams will be the heavy favourite but Svitolina insists she expects the task of making the final to be just as difficult if it is Wang who prevails.

Asked about the prospect of facing Williams, Svitolina told a media conference: "Definitely it's a big challenge to play against her.

"I mean, [it] doesn't really matter who I'm going to play in semi-final. It's a challenge.

"A person who reaches the semi-final is playing well. You have to bring your best game to beat them. Doesn't matter who is going to be in the semi-final.

"But obviously Serena is an amazing champion. It's going to be really tough against her."

Svitolina has not faced Williams since earning her only win over the American in the third round of the 2016 Olympic Games.

Recalling that match, she said: "It was an unbelievable atmosphere. I played actually a great match. I was very young. Not very young, but I was kind of young at the time. I didn't have big wins at that time.

"For me, it gave me lots of confidence, as well, because I was playing really good sometimes. It gave me the confidence to actually let me believe that I can play consistent against the top players.

"She gave me opportunities, for sure, in that match, and I actually took them and won the match. It was a very special moment."

Elina Svitolina progressed to the US Open semi-finals for the first time after extending her unbeaten record over Johanna Konta with a 6-4 6-4 win.

In a match of two remarkably similar sets inside Arthur Ashe Stadium, Svitolina came out on top to improve her career record against Konta to 5-0 and, in the process, become the first Ukrainian woman to reach the last four at Flushing Meadows.

The fifth seed – who also made the last four at Wimbledon this year – did drop her serve twice but was otherwise impressive in a contest that spanned one hour and 40 minutes.

Both players were cautious in the early stages before the contest sparked into life with a run of three successive service breaks from the fifth game onwards.

Svitolina grabbed the first of them courtesy of a backhand that was too much for her opponent to deal with, only to then let the advantage slip immediately.

However, Konta paid the price for two backhand errors, allowing Svitolina to edge ahead once again at 4-3.

This time she did not let her rival rally, fighting hard to save a break point in the eighth game. A Konta hold forced Svitolina to serve out for the opener, a task she duly achieved when converting her second set point.

The second set followed the same pattern as the first, the duo once again holding for the first four games before a trio of breaks.

As before, Svitolina moved 4-3 up and, while unable to take two match-point opportunities that arrived on Konta's serve, she sealed the victory at the third attempt on her own serve.

Next up will either be Serena Williams or Wang Qiang, who meet later on Tuesday in their last-eight tie.

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN
Elina Svitolina [5] bt Johanna Konta [16] 6-4 6-4

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Svitolina - 16/13
Konta – 24/25

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Svitolina – 4/0
Konta – 3/1

BREAK POINTS WON
Svitolina – 4/8
Konta – 2/3

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Svitolina - 57
Konta - 64

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Svitolina - 62/60
Konta – 59/48

TOTAL POINTS
Svitolina - 71
Konta - 62

Serena Williams suffered an injury scare as she progressed to the last eight of the US Open with a straight-sets win over Petra Martic.

Though she was broken early in the match, Williams never really looked troubled by Martic as she won her 99th match at the US Open.

That tally is her most at a grand slam, but the 23-time major winner's triumph was not without drama as she rolled her ankle in the second set when going to the net.

Williams had to take a medical timeout but said she felt "good" afterwards, and her spirits will likely have been boosted by the exits of Ashleigh Barty and Karolina Pliskova.

BARTY PUTS IT IN PERSPECTIVE

Barty was stunned by Wang Qiang in her fourth-round clash, the second seed making 39 unforced errors in a highly disappointing display.

Wang claimed a 6-2 6-4 win, denying Barty the chance to play Williams in the quarter-finals, but the French Open champion was able to look back on her grand slam season with satisfaction.

"We've had a great season in grand slams for singles. We've made the second week every single one, which has been really special," Barty told a media conference.

"Now we'll sit back, reflect, and look forward to a big couple months to finish off the year."

DOUBLE CELEBRATION FOR SVITOLINA

Elina Svitolina, meanwhile, saw off American Madison Keys in straight sets.

Svitolina is in a relationship with Gael Monfils, who watched on in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Monfils turned 33 on Sunday, and Svitolina revealed she was inspired by playing on his birthday.

"It's his birthday, I was trying to be really focused on my match but it was extra motivation for me," Svitolina told ESPN on court afterwards.

 

LAST EIGHT IS GREAT FOR KONTA

Johanna Konta outlasted third seed Pliskova in an engrossing match on Louis Armstrong, producing a fine comeback to prevail 6-7 (1-7) 6-3 7-5.

It means the Briton has now reached the last eight of every slam in her career.

Konta is also the first British woman to reach this stage at the US Open since Jo Durie in 1983.

"I'm really pleased [with that achievement]," Konta said at a media conference. 

"I think for me more on a personal level to be able to have made it to the quarters for my third slam in a row, I think that's a really, really big achievement for me. So I'm really pleased with that."

Karolina Pliskova survived a scare to keep her US Open hopes alive, while Serena Williams cruised into the fourth round at Flushing Meadows.

Having seen Simona Halep stunningly undone by qualifier Taylor Townsend on Thursday, the fans at Flushing Meadows may have thought another shock was on the cards when Ons Jabeur took Pliskova to a decider.

However, the third seed rallied to reach the last 16, where she will meet Johanna Konta.

Williams enjoyed a more comfortable day at the office in seeing off Karolina Muchova in straight sets and will play Petra Martic after her win over Anastasija Sevastova.

Meanwhile, Madison Keys had her blood pressure taken in her straight-sets win over Sofia Kenin.

 

PLISKOVA NOT SATISFIED

It appeared to be plain sailing for Pliskova when she breezed to the first set 6-1 against world number 62 Jabeur.

However, the Tunisian fought to send the match to a third set, and Pliskova needed over two hours to come through a stern test 6-1 4-6 6-4.

Afterwards, the former world number one made it clear she was not satisfied with her performance.

"You know, just got in trouble maybe more because of me than her," Pliskova said.

"Of course her game is, once you're not feeling great and her game is not super nice to play because she plays kind of everything, I don't even know if she knows what she's playing, and yeah, then was quite difficult.

"In the end, good. It was big fight. Not for sure the best feeling but I won, which is good."

 

KEYS UNLOCKS KENIN

Tenth seed Keys looked set to claim a comfortable win over compatriot Kenin, serving eight aces to take the opening set in 27 minutes.

However, her hopes of returning to the final she reached in 2017 seemed in jeopardy when she had the blood pressure strap on her arm at 3-3 in the second.

Yet she was able to break for a 6-5 lead and withstood pressure from Kenin to serve out a 6-3 7-5 success and set up a fourth-round meeting with Elina Svitolina, who thrashed fellow Ukrainian Dayana Yastremska 6-2 6-0.

"Just not feeling 100 per cent tonight but really glad I was able to get through in two. It would have been a lot trickier if I had to play another set," Keys told ESPN on court afterwards.

KONTA RELISHING PLISKOVA REUNION

When Konta played Pliskova in Rome this year she was on the end of a 6-3 6-4 defeat. However, after thrashing Zhang Shuai 6-2 6-3, the Briton expressed excitement at the chance to avenge that loss.

"I am actually looking forward to seeing how I can do a bit better, how I can just maybe ask some better questions this time around," said Konta.

World number two Ashleigh Barty remains on course for an enticing quarter-final with Williams following her 7-5 6-3 win over Maria Sakkari.

She will next face Wang Qiang, who came back from 3-0 down in the first set to beat Fiona Ferro 7-6 (7-1) 6-3.

Williams sisters Serena and Venus barely raised a sweat on day one of the US Open, while Ashleigh Barty dug deep to advance in New York.

Serena and Venus Williams lost three games between them as the American pair cruised through to the second round at Flushing Meadows on Monday.

Former world number one and French Open champion Barty survived a big scare, 2017 US Open runner-up Madison Keys eased into the next round but Angelique Kerber crashed out.

 

SERENA EXTENDS SHARAPOVA DOMINANCE

It was a ruthless performance from 23-time grand slam champion Serena Williams, who demolished Maria Sharapova 6-1 6-1.

Serena – who was at the centre of an infamous meltdown during last year's US Open final – made it 19 straight victories over five-time major winner Sharapova.

Fellow American Caty McNally is up next for Serena after easing past Timea Bacsinszky 6-4 6-1.

Two-time champion Venus Williams, meanwhile, routed Zheng Saisai 6-1 6-0 to extend her first-round record at the tournament to 21-0.

"I was happy with today, so I'm not going to ask for more," said Venus, who faces Elina Svitolina after the fifth seed defeated Whitney Osuigwe 6-1 7-5.

As for 10th seed Keys, she kicked off her campaign with a 7-5 6-0 victory over Misaki Doi after 63 minutes.

 

A MUCH-NEEDED AUSTRALIAN WIN

Australian sport was reeling on Sunday when Ben Stokes and the England cricket team produced a stunning fightback in the third Ashes Test.

And it briefly appeared fans Down Under were set for further pain when Aussie star Barty remarkably fell 5-0 behind to Zarina Diyas in the first set played at Arthur Ashe Stadium in the tournament.

But Barty – a former cricketer – rallied 1-6 6-3 6-2 to provide a much-needed boost, having herself taken in Australia's Headingley aberration.

"[England's performance] was pretty good. Credit where credit's due," she said. "Stokesy was incredible.

"I think we missed some opportunities and my whole team were glued to it. I have an English trainer, as well. He's had a fantastic 24 hours of feeding it to us and not letting us forget that result."

 

ADDED NERVES AMONG CZECH MATES

Karolina Pliskova came through two tie-breaks in an all-Czech clash packed with breaks to beat Tereza Martincova – and the third seed cheekily blamed her opponent's nationality for her nervy display.

"It was not perfect, but I'm through, so that's important," she said. "The first rounds they are always a little bit nervous, I would say, for most of the players.

"It doesn't help that you play somebody from your country, because then it adds some extra nerves, which maybe would not be there if she's from China or something."

Unable to respond as Pliskova did, Kerber was a big opening-day casualty, losing 7-5 0-6 6-4 to Kristina Mladenovic.

Meanwhile, Johanna Konta, who reached the last four at Roland Garros and the last eight at Wimbledon, was made to work for three sets by Daria Kasatkina, having appeared set for swift and stylish progress after taking the opener before prevailing 6-1 4-6 6-2.

Anastasija Sevastova consigned Eugenie Bouchard to a miserable 12th straight singles defeat, a run stretching back to February.

Johanna Konta was angered by a reporter's "patronising" question following her Wimbledon quarter-final defeat to Barbora Strycova.

World number 18 Konta slipped out in the last eight on Tuesday, going down 7-6 (7-5) 6-1 on Centre Court despite taking a 4-1 lead in the first set.

Strycova will now meet seven-time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams in the semi-finals, with the 11th seed having overcome Alison Riske.

Konta was the clear favourite against Strycova but appeared to lose her composure in the second set as the world number 54 cruised to a convincing victory and a first singles appearance in the last four of a major.

When a reporter suggested she could have performed better on key points, Konta replied: "Is that in your professional tennis opinion?

"I don't think you need to pick on me, in a harsh way. I'm very open with [the media] and I say how I feel out there.

"If you don't want to accept that answer or you don't agree with it that's fine, but I still believe in the tennis I play and still believe in the way I competed."

Asked if she wanted to win a grand slam in the future, Konta said: "Please don't patronise me.

"In the way you're asking your question, you are being quite disrespectful and you are patronising me.

"I'm a professional competitor who did her best today, and that's all there is to that."

However, Konta felt her performance in her French Open semi-final defeat to Marketa Vondrousova in June was of a higher quality.

"I thought I played better in my French semi-final," she said.

"I thought the conditions were a lot trickier in terms of the conditions we played in. There was a lot more wind and things like that. I think that played a factor.

"Player-wise, they're probably a little similar. I mean, slightly different court, as well, different surface. But no, actually I thought I played better there than in this match."

Barbora Strycova earned a Wimbledon semi-final clash with Serena Williams as the Czech doubles specialist stunned British hope Johanna Konta.

On her 53rd singles mission in a grand slam, Strycova has achieved a monumental breakthrough, having only ever previously reached one quarter-final.

She beat Konta 7-6 (7-5) 6-1 on Centre Court, and on Thursday the 33-year-old will tackle Williams, 37, for a place in the final.

Williams has won all three of their past meetings, including a first-round Wimbledon clash seven years ago, without dropping a set. She is also chasing a record-tying 24th grand slam singles triumph.

But arguably she has never played Strycova in such form, with Konta confounded and exasperated by the manner of this defeat.

Konta led 4-1 against the world number 54 in the first set but gave the early break back, and a to-and-fro tie-break looked to be heading the Briton's way once she reeled off three stunning passing shots.

Three times a grand slam semi-finalist, Konta's level dipped to damaging effect at a critical juncture. Defending a set point on her own serve, she ploughed a forehand into the net.

Strycova was full of tricks, executing drop shots with a greater element of surprise than those dispatched from the Konta racket, and showing the deft touch expected of a player ranked third in the world in doubles.

She made an early move in the second set, opening up three break points when a cross-court passing shot wrongfooted Konta. On the second of those points, Konta jabbed a backhand wide and looked bewildered by the state of play.

Konta saved break point in the sixth game with a fine drop volley, only to double-fault and flay a drive volley long and wide to give up the double break.

There was no way back, Konta spearing a backhand long on match point as her title hopes, and British interest in the singles, were vanquished.

Strycova was asked how being a semi-finalist felt and said: "It sounds crazy but it's happening."

She added: "I am extremely happy, and my voice is shaking still right now because I can't believe it.

"I enjoyed it, it was a very special moment for me."

As for facing Williams, she said: "It's a great week to play her and a match I really look forward to playing."

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN
Barbora Strycova bt Johanna Konta [19] 7-6 (7-5) 6-1

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Strycova – 22/9
Konta – 28/34

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Strycova – 4/3
Konta – 3/1

BREAK POINTS WON
Strycova – 3/7
Konta – 1/2

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Strycova - 69
Konta – 62

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Strycova – 67/74
Konta – 51/64

TOTAL POINTS
Strycova - 72
Konta – 56

World number one Ashleigh Barty and Karolina Pliskova crashed out as the women's quarter-final draw opened up at Wimbledon.

Barty went down 3-6 6-2 6-3 in a compelling contest against Alison Riske on No. 2 Court, while Czech Republic's third seed Pliskova went down to compatriot Karolina Muchova 4-6 7-5 13-11 in an epic encounter.

Riske will face Serena Williams – a 6-2 6-2 winner over Carla Suarez Navarro - in an all-American quarter but 15-year-old sensation Cori Gauff had her superb run at SW19 ended by Simona Halep in straight sets.

Halep is now the highest seed left in the draw after Britain's Johanna Konta kept home interest alive with a thrilling 4-6 6-2 6-4 win over world number six Petra Kvitova.
 

BARTY'S HOT STREAK COMES TO AN END

French Open champion Barty had not lost for two months heading into her fourth-round match but had no complaints as Riske turned in a stirring display.

"Overall I didn't play a poor match. When I needed to, when the big moments were there, Alison played better," she said. "Tough one to swallow but I lost to a better player."

Riske is relishing her reward of a showdown with Williams, who she has partnered in Fed Cup doubles.

"I think it's super exciting. I played doubles with Serena, but never played against her. It will be an interesting match," she said.

"I'm ready for a war. She's the greatest athlete I think that's ever been on the women's side. It's going to be a huge challenge."

GAUFF EXIT TOUGH TO STOMACH

Already a favourite at the All England Club, Gauff was unable to overturn the odds once more against the former world number one Halep.

The youngster seemed to be hindered by illness and called for the doctor in the second set.

"I wasn't feeling 100 per cent. I still tried my best. Simona played really well," she said after losing 6-3 6-3.

"I learned a lot. I learned how to play in front of a big crowd. I learned what it was like to be under pressure. I'm really thankful for this experience."
 

KONTA KEEPS HOME FIRES BURNING

Konta will meet veteran Barbora Strycova – a winner in three against Belgium's Elise Mertens - after bringing Centre Court to its feet at the end of a gruelling battle.

Two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova did not go down without a fight, saving two match points and breaking Konta to recover from 5-1 down to make it 5-4 in the decider, but the elated 19th seed finished the job.

"Petra started playing incredibly freely and hitting through the ball. The balls were coming at 100 miles-an-hour to me," Konta, who assuaged fears over the ankle treatment she received during the match, told BBC.

"I'm tremendously grateful to be here. The way I'm competing, I'm really happy with that."

SVITOLINA LANDING BLOWS ON OTHER SIDE OF THE DRAW

China's world number 50 Shuai Zhang is up next for Halep after beating teenager Dayana Yastremska 6-4 1-6 6-2 to reach a first quarter-final since the 2016 Australian Open.

Yastremska's fellow Ukrainian Elina Svitolina, the number eight seed, brushed aside Petra Martic in straight sets to set up a meeting with surprise package Muchova.

A keen boxing fan, Svitolina will be optimistic of sealing semi-final berth and potentially landing a knockout blow on one of the favourites.

"I love watching it. In Ukraine there is great fighters," she said, while pursuing a triumph that could place her alongside the Klitschko brothers and Vasyl Lomachenko in her nation's affections.

"I'm a big fan of [Anthony Joshua]. Unfortunately, [his] last fight wasn't great."

Serena Williams sang the praises of Cori 'Coco' Gauff and Ashleigh Barty as she assessed the credentials of two players who could deny her a record-tying 24th grand slam title next weekend.

Seven-time Wimbledon champion Williams was an impressive 6-3 6-4 winner against Germany's Julia Goerges on No. 1 Court on Saturday, setting up a last-16 clash with Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain, who beat Lauren Davis.

The 37-year-old American superstar could face world number one Barty in the quarter-finals, while Gauff - who Williams says is "totally capable" of winning the title at the age of 15 - is on the opposite side of the draw.

Williams labelled Australian Barty a "beautiful player" with "great technique" and added: "She's just someone in the locker room that you just always root for.

"But in general I have been watching her game because I know that she's a force to be reckoned with. So I've been watching a lot."

Barty trounced British player Harriet Dart 6-1 6-1 on Centre Court and will face American Alison Riske next. Riske, ranked 55th, beat Swiss 13th seed Belinda Bencic in three sets.

Williams says Gauff is equipped to achieve more success at Wimbledon, with the world number 313 to play Simona Halep next.

"I think there's some 15-year-olds, like me, who wouldn't know what to do at Wimbledon," Williams said. "Then you have a 15-year-old like Coco who knows what to do. I think she's definitely on a different level, so I think she's totally capable and ready."

Fourth seed Kiki Bertens was the biggest casualty of the day, the Dutch player sliding to a 7-5 6-1 defeat at the hands of experienced Barbora Strycova.

Fellow Czech Petra Kvitova raced to a 6-3 6-2 win against Poland's Magda Linette, Britain's Johanna Konta ground out a 3-6 6-4 6-1 victory over US ninth seed Sloane Stephens, and Belgian Elise Mertens dug in for a 6-2 6-7 (9-11) 6-4 success against Wang Qiang of China.

FOREARM FOREWARNING

Kvitova looks to have made untroubled progress through to the second week, and the two-time Wimbledon champion is happy with her form.

But the 29-year-old has warned her campaign could end at any moment and it may have nothing to do with an opponent.

She began the tournament saying she had "no pain" in her left arm after several days of practice, but a tear forced her to pull out of the French Open and Kvitova is wary of the problem possibly returning.

"As I mentioned already many times before, the pain can come in the forearm and I have to retire," she said.

"Now my mind is more focusing on the arm than maybe on the tennis. It's a bit difficult in the practices before, my arm just getting tighter. I just felt it. I couldn't really hit it.

"I'm always worried about the scenarios that's come in the match. So far it's okay."

ENJOYING A PINCER THE ACTION

Did Barty intend to quote Sebastian, the crab from The Little Mermaid, in her press conference after beating Dart?

Asked about how she figures out how and when to play certain shots, Barty said: "I think for me sometimes I look at a shot, I play a shot, I think the seaweed is always greener in someone else's lake. I try and think of how else I can win the point."

The seaweed idiom is thought to have been coined for the 1989 animated Disney film, a subterranean take on the 'grass is always greener' notion.

COCO HAS A NEW SUPER-FAN - BUT SHE'S NOT A BFF YET

Gauff was only involved in doubles on Saturday, losing a mixed match with British partner Jay Clarke.

Yet she remains in demand and proved good value in her post-match news conference, thrilled to have picked up a new fan in the former United States First Lady Michelle Obama.

On Friday evening in the US, Obama tweeted: "Coco is terrific!"

"Yeah, I just saw the tweet," said 15-year-old Gauff, who will play in the singles fourth round on Monday. "We don't talk personally. I don't have her number or anything. I was super excited. She's one of my role models. So it was just cool to see that she knows I exist."

Serena Williams had the support of Meghan Markle on Thursday and revealed her hope to have all of Britain behind her when she plays in the mixed doubles with Andy Murray.

Wimbledon great Williams defeated teenager Kaja Juvan in three sets at the All England Club, with the Duchess of Sussex watching on No. 1 Court.

"It's always exciting when she comes out to watch and support the tennis," Williams said of her friend. "I was happy."

Markle's son, Archie, will be christened on Saturday but Williams can at least offer a reasonable excuse for why she will be absent.

"I'm working on Saturday," she joked. "Yeah, so she understands work."

Before then, however, Williams will link up with Murray in mixed doubles action on Friday - and believes she may receive even greater backing when partnering the home favourite.

"Actually I'm curious," the American said. "I'm going to be so happy when I go out there, it's going to be really cool. That's the real reason I wanted to play with Andy."

Elsewhere on Thursday, defending champion Angelique Kerber crashed out to Lauren Davis. Teenager Amanda Anisimova also lost, beaten by Magda Linette.

Top seed Ashleigh Barty got through, though, along with Sloane Stephens and Belinda Bencic.

 

DAVIS: 'BETTER THAN IT LOOKS'

Kerber's humiliation in defeat to Davis was capped by the American's heavy strapping on her knee, shoulder and, following a first-set slip, ankle.

But Davis insisted she is physically fit despite hobbling through much of her stunning defeat of the 2018 winner.

"I feel good. Tape is a lot better than it looks," she said. "It's just a little soreness with my meniscus on my left side. It's really just prevention at this point, especially on the grass where it can be slippery."

 

KVITOVA, KIKI BATTLE BACK

Petra Kvitova was forced out of the French Open with a forearm injury and looked as though she might be heading home early from Wimbledon, too, as she trailed 5-3 in the first and then saw opponent Kristina Mladenovic forge three set points.

While two-time champion Kvitova battled back to win in straight sets, she acknowledged there are still issues with her injury.

"I can't say it's better, I can't say it's worse," she said. "I'm feeling everything on my body. It's not really surprising.

"We'll see how that will look like tomorrow. I really had a tough match today with fast serves flying to me."

Kiki Bertens was also given a scare but came back from the brink of defeat to beat Taylor Townsend 3-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-2.

 

KONTA CONTINUES BRITISH BID

Both British players in action on the WTA Tour won on Thursday, with Johanna Konta and Harriet Dart each progressing.

French Open semi-finalist Konta brushed aside Katerina Siniakova 6-3 6-4 and said: "I think for any player who is getting to the third round of a grand slam, that's always a massive achievement. It's a massive achievement for me.

"So I'm really pleased for [the other British players] and myself, for us to be still in the tournament, still going at it."

Dart, meanwhile, was on target in a deciding set to see off Beatriz Haddad Maia and will next face Barty.

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