German star Alexander Zverev insisted he has unfinished business after reaching his first grand slam final in stunning fashion at the US Open.

Zverev rallied from two-sets-to-love down to outlast Pablo Carreno Busta 3-6 2-6 6-3 6-4 6-3 in Friday's semi-final at Flushing Meadows.

After erasing a two-set deficit for the first time in his career, fifth seed Zverev – the youngest major finalist since Novak Djokovic in 2010 – is now looking to become the first German slam champion since Boris Becker in 1996.

An Australian Open semi-finalist earlier this year, Zverev is also the first German man through to the US Open final since 1994 following three hours, 22 minutes on court in New York.

But Zverev is refusing to dwell on his major breakthrough as he awaits either Dominic Thiem or last year's runner-up Daniil Medvedev in the decider, telling reporters: "I still need to achieve. Sunday is going to be extremely difficult no matter who I play of those guys.

"But I'm looking forward to it. Yeah, I'm in the final of a grand slam. The two best players in the world are going to be playing on court."

Zverev added: "It's great. Obviously happy to be in a final. But as I said in the previous question, there's still one more step to go. For me, I think it's going to be extremely difficult. Both of those guys deserve to be in the final. That's it.

"If I play Dominic, we played an epic in Australia. If I play Daniil, we had some great matches as well. No matter who it's going to be, it's going to be a new grand slam champion, but it's going to be also a very difficult match I think."

Zverev was on the brink of an exit after a slow start against Carreno Busta, but he battled hard to get past the Spanish 20th seed on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The 23-year-old Zverev became the first player to win a grand slam semi-final from two sets down since Djokovic in 2011

"I looked at the scoreboard after two sets," he said. "I thought to myself, Look, I'm playing a grand slam semi-final, I'm down 6-3, 6-2 in a match where on paper I'm supposed to be the favourite.

"I needed to play better, start something new. I thought, Okay, I'm going to go set by set, we'll see how far I can get. It turned out well in the end.

"Obviously it was very close. Pablo deserved to be in the final just as much as I did. Yeah, a few points here or there on either side of the match."

Alexander Zverev advanced to his first grand slam final after rallying from two sets down to trump Pablo Carreno Busta in a sensational fightback at the US Open.

Zverev was on the brink of defeat against Spanish 20th seed Carreno Busta in New York, but the German star produced a stunning rally to emerge victorious 3-6 2-6 6-3 6-4 6-3 on Friday.

After earning his first win from two-sets-to-love down, Zverev – the youngest major finalist since Novak Djokovic in 2010 – is now looking to become the first German major champion since Boris Becker in 1996 as he awaits either Dominic Thiem or last year's runner-up Daniil Medvedev in the decider.

Fifth seed Zverev, who reached the Australian Open semi-finals earlier this year, is also the first German man through to the US Open final at Flushing Meadows since 1994 following three hours, 22 minutes on court.

Carreno Busta – who benefited from world number one Djokovic's default in the fourth round – made a flying start and led 5-1 in the opening set before dropping his own serve for the first time.

Zverev was too far back in that set to make it close though, and he was desperately flat in the second set too, sliding two breaks behind without making Carreno Busta fight especially hard for that enviable position.

Carreno Busta – a two-time US Open semi-finalist – wobbled slightly, but he could afford to, and he soon held a two-set cushion.

But Zverev refused to surrender and he showed more verve and attacking intent to finally break his opponent's serve at a meaningful point in a set and lead 3-1 in the third, but that was immediately clawed back.

The inclination was to think that might have marked the end of the Zverev fightback, given he had shown such little dynamism through the first two sets, but he broke again and soon led 5-2 as he stayed alive in the match.

Zverev's serve and ball-striking was more assured than at any point in the match, with Carreno Busta for the first time given serious pause for thought, the momentum beginning to turn.

That was only accentuated when Carreno Busta dropped serve in game three of the fourth set, but a wretched service game from Zverev brought the fourth set back on level terms.

However, Zverev earned a pair of break-point chances in a tense seventh game and while Carreno Busta saved one, he was unable to save the other as the former's deep approach shot set up an emphatic overhead smash for the break and 4-3 lead.

Carreno Busta then saved three set points in a battling display, but there was no denying the rallying Zverev – who levelled the match at two-sets-apiece with an ace to force a decider.

After a medical timeout for back treatment, Carreno Busta emerged trying to halt Zverev's momentum, however, the latter was too hot to handle with a match-high 18 winners in the set to complete a memorable fightback as he became the first German grand slam finalist since 2003.

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN

Zverev [5] bt Carreno Busta [20] 3-6 2-6 6-3 6-4 6-3

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Zverev – 71/57
Carreno Busta – 37/43

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Zverev – 24/8
Carreno Busta – 4/1

BREAK POINTS WON

Zverev – 7/21
Carreno Busta – 7/16

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE

Zverev – 62
Carreno Busta – 71 

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE

Zverev – 78/37
Carreno Busta – 65/42

TOTAL POINTS

Zverev – 148
Carreno Busta – 138

Victoria Azarenka will try to take a "neutral" mentality into her US Open final showdown with Naomi Osaka after claiming she is no longer a player fuelled by ego.

The 31-year-old former world number one overcame a torrid first set to defeat Serena Williams 1-6 6-3 6-3 and book a place in the Flushing Meadows showpiece.

Williams, whose search for a record-equalling 24th grand slam goes on, beat Azarenka in each of her previous final appearances in New York in 2012 and 2013.

The Belarusian won the Australian Open in each of those years but a succession of form, fitness and personal problems have contributed to those being her most recent triumphs at the highest level.

After earning the chance to end that drought against Osaka, who Azarenka was due to face in the final of last month's Western & Southern Open before her opponent withdrew due to a hamstring strain, she told reporters it was an opportunity she would approach with humility.

"I think when you're coming up from kind of nothing, then you become a number one player in the world, sometimes you can start to think you're invincible and that you're better than everybody, and it's not true," Azarenka said.

"So the ego starts to grow. It's very hurtful when it gets damaged, so...

"Instead of getting the ego damaged, I tried to remove that and learn from my mistakes of that ego, and realising that being a tennis player doesn't make you better or worse than anybody else, that you're still human, and all you can do is try to be the best version of yourself and keep improving."

Azarenka has taken to sitting with her eyes closed during the change of ends and explained this was an exercise used to clear her mind of any thoughts during high-pressure moments.

"Absolutely nothing. That's my goal," she said.

"When s*** happens to you, you're like, oh, let's be positive, let's be positive.

"It's sometimes impossible to be positive. So being neutral, just not going into negativity is very useful. It's very simple."

Williams confirmed afterwards that she would take part in the forthcoming French Open and Azarenka admires her old rival's longevity and quest to match Margaret Court's all-time slam record.

"I think it's amazing," she added. "There's no other thoughts.

"Someone who is an amazing champion going for what she wants to do. All admiration from my side."

Two-time major champion Naomi Osaka will go into this year's US Open final with a different mindset.

Osaka won her first grand slam singles title at Flushing Meadows two years ago, overcoming Serena Williams in a match that was overshadowed by the 23-time major champion's incredible meltdown.

The Japanese followed that success up with glory at the 2019 Australian Open, but did not go beyond the fourth round of a major again until this fortnight in New York.

Osaka defeated Jennifer Brady 7-6 (7-1) 3-6 6-3 on Thursday and, having been the runner-up at the Western & Southern Open when tennis returned from its suspension amid the coronavirus pandemic, she feels in a better place going into her third major final.

"I feel like my mindset is much different this time around. I feel like I've learned so much through the ups and downs, not even counting the finals, but just regular tour tournaments," said Osaka after her semi-final triumph.

"I would say mentally I feel stronger. I feel fitter now. It's going to be interesting to see what happens.

"I feel like the older you get, the more mentally strong you are. I think that's something that you learn from being on the tour for such a long time, playing so many matches.

"But for me, definitely my goal during these two tournaments was to be more mentally strong and to fight for every point. So that's what I'm going to go into the final with. Nothing is going to change that."

Osaka was denied a rematch with Williams in the US Open final by Victoria Azarenka, who won a semi-final against the great American 1-6 6-3 6-3.

World number 27 Azarenka is in good form having won the Western & Southern Open by walkover after Osaka withdrew from the final due to a left hamstring injury.

Osaka said of the Belarusian: "I've played her once in Roland Garros. I played her twice, but the Roland Garros one is the most recent one that I remember.

"Yeah, she seems really confident now. She's moving well. I don't know. I don't try to think about other matches right after the match that I just finished. But [it] should be tough."

Osaka believes the hard work she put in during lockdown has paid dividends since the return of professional tennis.

"You're never really sure how things will pan out. But I felt like I put in as much work as I could, and I tried as hard as I could during the quarantine to get myself ready. For me, I felt that's the only thing I could possibly to," she said.

"Yeah, I feel like my first match in [the Western & Southern Open], I was super nervous. But I was really happy with the level that I was playing. I just tried to keep building from that. Now I'm here."

Serena Williams had been hunting down US Open glory this fortnight with the same hunger she showed when winning a first grand slam singles title at Flushing Meadows 21 years ago.

It was September 11, 1999, when a 17-year-old Williams proved the theory she was destined for greatness, seeing off Martina Hingis at Flushing Meadows to cap a spectacular run through the draw.

Big sister Venus had been expected to land a singles slam first, being 15 months Serena's senior and ranked higher. Venus' time would come, but it was the younger sibling who triumphed that time in New York.

There will be no record-equalling 24th major at the same site this year following a semi-final loss to Victoria Azarenka on Thursday, though.

But, with the help of Opta, we look back at how Serena got started at her home slam.

SHOULD IT HAVE COME AS ANY SURPRISE?

The Williams sisters had been spoken about long before they took their first steps on the WTA Tour, with their talents having been nurtured from an early age by father and coach Richard. He and they eschewed the typical pathway through the junior ranks, after a rush of early age-group success, focusing instead on moving into the professional game, fighting racial prejudice along the way.

In November 1997, Serena announced her arrival when, just turned 16, she beat Mary Pierce and Monica Seles at an event in Scottsdale, before reaching the semi-finals in Sydney at the start of the 1998 season.

Unseeded, she won an indoor title in Paris early in 1999 by beating local hero Amelie Mauresmo in the final after seeing off three previous French opponents. A fortnight later, she overcame Steffi Graf to triumph at Indian Wells. With Venus, she then won the French Open doubles, a first taste of grand slam glory.

Serena missed Wimbledon through injury but any doubts over her fitness were banished by victory at a Los Angeles tournament a week before the US Open, where she beat world number one Hingis for the second time.

That week is perhaps best remembered for Graf, fed up of battling injury, announcing her retirement. As one queen of the courts departed, another was continuing quite the sublime entrance.

MAKING IT BIG, MAKING HISTORY

The seismic moment the tennis world had been waiting for arrived earlier than many imagined, even if teenage players winning majors was nothing new.

Hingis won three slams as a 16-year-old in 1997, adding two more at the 1998 and 1999 Australian Opens, and the likes of Graf, Chris Evert and Seles were all in their teens when they made major title breakthroughs in the women's game.

Serena's win stood out for many reasons, not least that it made her the first African-American woman to win a grand slam singles title in the Open Era. The great Althea Gibson won five singles slams in the 1950s, during tennis' amateur age, but another such triumph had been a long time coming.

Serena would not rise to number one in the world until July 2002, but that first major would be followed by many more, and heading to New York this year she had 23 singles slams - an Open Era record (ahead of Graf - 22, Evert - 18, Martina Navratilova - 18) and just one short of the all-time best achieved by Court.

One women's record Serena owns outright is the number of grand slam titles on hard courts, as nobody matches her 13 successes.

TAKING THE HARDEST ROUTE

What was most remarkable about Serena's 1999 run to the title was the calibre of the opposition she fended off.

A 6-1 6-0 annihilation of Kimberly Po in round one was followed by a straight-sets win over Jelena Kostanic, but the real tests were to come.

Williams was pushed hard by 16-year-old Kim Clijsters in round three, taking a decider 7-5 against the future three-time US Open champion, before picking off grand slam winners Conchita Martinez, Seles and defending title-holder Lindsay Davenport en route to the final, each match going to three sets.

Hingis, by contrast, had only dropped one set all tournament, and that came against Venus in their semi-final battle.

After scuppering the hopes of Martinez, Seles and Davenport, Hingis was a fourth successive seeded opponent for Serena, who triumphed 6-3 7-6 (7-4) against the 18-year-old Swiss.

Hingis, once seen as the likely successor to Graf as a long-time standard setter, would never win another singles slam.

WHAT DID IT MEAN?

For Serena, for the Williams sisters, for tennis, the final grand slam tournament of the 1990s had seen a moment of monumental significance.

United States president Bill Clinton called to offer his congratulations minutes after the women's final ended, and the young Serena acknowledged the symbolism of the success, the possibilities it could open up.

At her post-match news conference, she spoke of Gibson's legacy, saying: "One of her best friends told me she wanted to see another African-American win a slam before her time is up.

"I'm so excited I had a chance to accomplish that while she's still alive. It's just really great."

Gibson died in late September 2003, by which time Serena had six singles slams. Even then, Serena was only getting started.

Serena Williams said she will contest the upcoming French Open after her US Open semi-final elimination at the hands of Victoria Azarenka, while playing down an Achilles issue.

Williams' bid to win a record-equalling 24th grand slam title was put on hold once more following a 1-6 6-3 6-3 loss to former world number Azarenka in New York on Thursday.

Not since claiming the 2017 Australian Open has American superstar Williams clinched a major trophy, despite reaching four finals in that period.

And Williams' wait continues after two-time slam champion Azarenka completed a stunning comeback on Arthur Ashe Stadium at Flushing Meadows, where the unseeded Belarusian advanced to her first major decider since 2013.

With the rescheduled French Open due to get underway on September 27 amid the coronavirus pandemic, attention turned to Roland Garros post-match and Williams was asked if she would be competing in Paris.

"I'm definitely going to be going to Paris," Williams, a three-time French Open winner, told reporters.

Williams stormed out of the blocks under the New York lights, the 38-year-old hitting 12 winners and breaking serve three times in a devastating opening set.

But Azarenka refused to surrender in an entertaining battle between two mothers on the WTA Tour, outlasting Williams in just under two hours on court.

"I started really strong," Williams said. "Then she just kept fighting. She just changed and started playing better and better. Maybe I took a little too much off the gas pedal at some point."

"It's obviously disappointing," she continued. "At the same time, I did what I could today. I feel like other times I've been close and I could have done better. Today I felt like I gave a lot."

There was a worrying moment early in the final set when Williams was hunched over and required a medical timeout.

Initially thought to be an ankle problem, Williams said: "It wasn't much. I just was stretching. Like, I ran for a shot.

"Off that first step that I took, it wasn't my ankle, it was actually my Achilles. It just overstretched. It was pretty intense. Then that was that.

"It feels fine. I don't think it had anything to do. I think Victoria played well. It didn't affect my play ultimately at all, just for that one point."

Serena Williams' wait for a record-equalling 24th grand slam titles continues after former world number one Victoria Azarenka sensationally rallied to advance to the US Open final.

Stuck on 23 slam trophies since winning the 2017 Australian Open, losing four major finals since that last success at Melbourne Park, Williams looked on track to earn a 2018 US Open final rematch with Naomi Osaka after blitzing Azarenka in the first set.

But two-time major champion Azarenka completed a memorable comeback to prevail 1-6 6-3 6-3 on Thursday for her first slam final since the 2013 US Open decider, which she lost at Flushing Meadows.

Riding a 10-match winning streak having won the Western & Southern Open, a nervous Azarenka did not look like a player in form to start the match in a battle of the mothers.

Appearing in her first slam semi-final in seven years, Azarenka was broken in the opening game following two double faults and it was a sign of things to come against ruthless third seed Williams.

Committed to going big as she attacked Azarenka, a fast-starting Williams was unstoppable as the 38-year-old American superstar hit 12 winners and broke three times – closing out a lopsided first set on her opponent's serve.

Two-time US Open runner-up Azarenka, however, turned the match on its head in a high-octane second set under lights on Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York.

Out of rhythm in the opener, unseeded Azarenka settled after saving a break point in the first game of the second set.

Finding her range and eliminating unforced errors, Azarenka dug deep as the Belarusian earned a pair of break points, only needing one for a 3-2 lead before consolidating.

Azarenka produced a complete turnaround, reeling off 12 winners and a solitary unforced error against Williams, whose timing appeared off as the showdown went to a deciding set.

There was a worrying moment in the second game when six-time US Open champion Williams hunched over and required a medical timeout, re-emerging with a heavily strapped ankle.

Williams willed herself on, but Azarenka had all the momentum, breaking for a 3-0 lead and it was an advantage she never relinquished.

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN

Azarenka bt Williams [3] 1-6 6-3 6-3

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Azarenka – 24/17
Williams – 35/28

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Azarenka – 2/5
​Williams – 6/3

BREAK POINTS WON

Azarenka – 3/7
​Williams – 3/5

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE

Azarenka – 68
​Williams – 65

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE

Azarenka – 67/46
​Williams – 72/37

TOTAL POINTS

Azarenka – 80
​Williams – 78

Naomi Osaka returned to the US Open final for the first time since 2018 after overpowering Jennifer Brady 7-6 (7-1) 3-6 6-3 in an entertaining battle at Flushing Meadows.

Former world number one Osaka claimed her maiden grand slam title in New York two years ago and the fourth seed advanced to a second US Open decider on Thursday.

Osaka – a two-time major champion through to her first slam decider since clinching the 2019 Australian Open – hit 35 winners as the Japanese star awaits either Serena Williams or Victoria Azarenka in the women's finale.

There was plenty of power on display between two huge hitters on Arthur Ashe Stadium, where 28th seed Brady was playing the biggest match of her life, having never progressed beyond the fourth round of a slam prior to this year's US Open.

Service games were fairly routine until Brady earned the first break-point chance of the match in the seventh game from 0-40 down, but Osaka managed to hold.

The high level of tennis continued heading into the tie-break, where Osaka zeroed in to claim the first set as a wayward Brady – playing confidently and aggressively – slipped up.

It was an almost flawless opener from Osaka, who had just four unforced errors and lost only one point when landing her first serves.

But Brady, after losing a set for the first time during this year's tournament, continued to take the match to Osaka in the second set and she was rewarded in the eighth game.

With a second break-point opportunity, Brady prevailed after a tense 18-shot rally to break serve for the first time in the match for a 5-3 lead.

While Osaka did not do much wrong, she was simply outplayed as a confident Brady levelled proceedings to force a deciding set.

But Brady was unable to maintain her level in the final set – Osaka breaking for the first time in the contest at 40-15 in the fourth game to capitalise on a lull to move 3-1 clear before consolidating and seeing out the showdown in two hours, eight minutes.

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN  

Osaka [4] bt Brady [28] 7-6 (7-1) 3-6 6-3

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS   

Osaka – 35/17
Brady – 35/25

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS   

Osaka – 9/1
Brady – 10/2

BREAK POINTS WON    

Osaka – 1/4
Brady – 1/2

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE   

Osaka – 57
Brady – 54

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE   

Osaka – 84/58
Brady – 77/51

TOTAL POINTS   

Osaka – 98
Brady – 88

Dominic Thiem hopes his grand slam experiences help in his quest for a breakthrough major title at the US Open after reaching the semi-finals.

Thiem progressed to the US Open semis for the first time in his career following a 6-1 6-2 6-4 victory over Alex de Minaur at Flushing Meadows on Wednesday.

A three-time grand slam runner-up, Thiem will now face last year's US Open finalist Daniil Medvedev for a spot in the New York decider as he looks to claim a maiden major.

Asked if he had been thinking back to his previous final appearances at the French Open (2018 and 2019) and this year's Australian Open, second seed Thiem told reporters: "I do, yes, because these are great memories, the slams I went deep, even though I lost three finals.

"If I think back at these tournaments, they were great to me. I lost finals against all-time greats, especially last year Paris and this year Australia. I think they were great matches.

"I love to look back at them and of course look back at them now and check out what I can improve. I hope these experiences help me also in this US Open."

Thiem – a beaten quarter-finalist in New York in 2018 – also became the first Austrian male to reach the US Open singles semi-finals in tournament history, and the 27-year-old said: "It feels good to be in the semis here in general for the first time.

"I mean, if I'm the first Austrian or not, it's not that important. For me, for myself, it's really nice to reach the semis also at this slam here, especially under tough mental circumstances with the times we are going through and everything. That's really great for me.

"It's nice to be in the semis at three of the four slams."

Thiem is braced for a difficult showdown against third seed Medvedev, who was denied by Rafael Nadal in a thrilling five-set decider last year on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

"I would say that he comes very close to the big three players in terms that he can play his level, his top level, for doesn't matter how long, I mean, four, five, six hours," Thiem, who lost an entertaining Australian Open final to Novak Djokovic this year, said. "That's going to be really, really difficult.

"But I'm looking forward to that one. I think it's going to be a big stage, even if it's without fans. It's going to be a great semi-final."

Victoria Azarenka is excited to face Serena Williams again after an impressive display at the US Open on Wednesday.

Azarenka was in blistering form in a 6-1 6-0 thrashing of Belgian 16th seed Elise Mertens in the quarter-finals on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The two-time grand slam winner next faces Williams and the Belarusian cannot wait, despite having lost 18 of their previous 22 meetings.

"I love playing against Serena. I think we have one of the best matches – at least that I played in my career – against her," Azarenka told a news conference.

"We always played on big stages. It was a lot of big fights. She's one of the players who push me to the limit, who makes me better. I'm excited for that.

"It's been a while since we played. I think the last time was, what is it, Indian Wells [last year]. I think we both were not really playing well at that time. I think the semi-final of a grand slam is a different stage. It's going to be a different fight. I'm looking forward to it."

While Williams is chasing a record-equalling 24th grand slam singles title, Azarenka will go into the meeting on the back of 10 straight wins.

Asked why she enjoyed playing the American so much, Azarenka said: "It's very simple: I like playing against the best. That's where you see yourself, your level, the biggest challenge.

"That's what I'm working hard for, to play on the biggest stages against the best players. There's no one as tough mentally as Serena. I love that challenge."

Dominic Thiem reached the US Open semi-finals for the first time after outclassing Alex de Minaur in straight sets at Flushing Meadows.

A beaten quarter-finalist previously in New York in 2018, second seed Thiem showcased his quality in a 6-1 6-2 6-4 victory over the spirited Australian on Wednesday.

Thiem – the 2020 Australian Open runner-up – is only one win away from his second final of the year as he awaits 2019 US Open finalist Daniil Medvedev in the semis.

The highest-ranked player remaining at the grand slam following Novak Djokovic's default and with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer at home in Europe – Thiem produced plenty of power from the baseline from the outset.

Working De Minaur around the court, Thiem broke in the second game for a 2-0 lead, though the Austrian was pegged back immediately, only for the 21st seed to be broken straight away after firing a forehand into the net.

Thiem's trademark backhands were on show, the three-time major finalist unleashing with venom down the line to break again before closing out the set on his serve in a ruthless display.

Contesting his maiden slam quarter-final, De Minaur was not overawed as he took the match to the experienced Thiem, continuing to go toe-to-toe until he was broken in the fifth game.

That moment derailed three-time ATP Tour winner De Minaur, with Thiem breaking again en route to claiming a commanding two-sets-to-love lead on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Despite breaking in the opening game, the third set was trickier for Thiem to navigate.

De Minaur refused to surrender and converted a break point in the sixth game as Thiem's backhand found the net, before consolidating.

Trailing 3-4 and 15-30 on serve, there was a big slice of fortune for Thiem – whose shot struck the net cord and bounced over to avoid facing a pair of break points.

Thiem went on to hold serve and he broke in the very next game after De Minaur, charging forward, volleyed into the net as the former powered through to the final four.

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN 

Thiem [2] bt De Minaur [21] 6-1 6-2 6-4

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS 

Thiem – 43/31
De Minaur – 17/25

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS 

Thiem – 11/3
De Minaur – 1/3

BREAK POINTS WON 

Thiem – 7/13
De Minaur – 2/7

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE 

Thiem – 59
De Minaur – 57

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE 

Thiem – 83/39
De Minaur – 49/52

TOTAL POINTS 

Thiem – 95
De Minaur – 69

Daniil Medvedev played down concerns over his fitness after his US Open quarter-final win over Andrey Rublev.

The Russian third seed required treatment on his shoulder and for cramp during a 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 7-6 (7-5) victory over Rublev on Wednesday.

But after moving into the semi-finals, Medvedev – the 2019 runner-up – insisted he was feeling fine.

"No, no, everything is quite fine. I just got a little bit tired at the end of the third set with really physical match that we had," he told a news conference.

"My shoulder started to hurt just a little. And in order not to finish the third set, imagine I would serve one serve, and I don't know, just pull my shoulder.

"I call the physio, so he took care of it. I was cramping a little bit, so he also massaged me, and it helped a lot. As you saw at the end, I was able to be 100 per cent."

Medvedev is considered one of the favourites to win the US Open after world number one Novak Djokovic sensationally defaulted in the fourth round.

However, the 24-year-old said he was remaining focused, having initially been drawn on the opposite half to the world number one.

"No, to be honest with you, yeah, I said it already, that the problem is that Djokovic was not in my half even. So in order to meet him, I would need to be in the final," Medvedev said.

"So if I'm going to be in the final, then of course there is no Djokovic, maybe I'm going to say to myself, 'Yeah, this is an opportunity here, maybe bigger than if I would face Djokovic'.

"Right now I still have semis to play. Djokovic is the other side of draw, so that's how I think pragmatically, and that's how I take it."

Medvedev will face either Dominic Thiem or Alex de Minaur in the semi-finals.

Daniil Medvedev powered into the US Open semi-finals with a straight-sets win over fellow Russian Andrey Rublev on Wednesday.

The 2019 finalist had won their previous two ATP Tour contests and played the key moments better as he claimed a 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 7-6 (7-5) victory.

It was a match of fine margins despite the one-sided scoreline, with Medvedev claiming the only break of serve midway through the second set after having snatched the first from Rublev's grasp.

The 24-year-old began to struggle physically in the closing stages and roared with delight and relief when he closed out the win and set up a semi-final against Dominic Thiem or Alex de Minaur.

There was scarcely a sniff of a break in the opening set as each man found early rhythm from the baseline, even after the action was briefly suspended due to a power outage.

Rublev seized the initiative in the breaker but squandered three set points at 6-3 up to lose both the opener and his cool, the world number 14 smashing his racquet into the court and his bench in anger.

Medvedev went into the contest having never dropped a set in previous meetings with his compatriot, and the match was firmly under his control when he held to love twice in a row before breaking in the sixth game of the second set with an authoritative smash.

Rublev was looking forlornly for a solution against the Medvedev serve and forehand, the third seed closing out another routine service game to move into a 2-0 lead.

A terrific drop shot seemed to give Rublev renewed vigour early in the third and there was a scare for Medvedev at 4-5 when he needed treatment for a shoulder problem and cramp, although a missile of a cross-court backhand in the next game seemed to dispel some of the concerns.

Rublev successfully challenged a second serve at 1-0 in the tie-break, but he was less fortunate when a thumping Medvedev backhand clipped the outside of the line.

Medvedev was by now clearly hampered physically, choosing to serve and volley at 5-4 ahead for the first time in the match only to drop a routine effort in the tramlines.

But he made certain there would be no threat of a fightback, taking his first match point when Rublev sent a backhand long.

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN 

Medvedev [3] bt Rublev [10] 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 7-6 (7-5) 

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS 

Medvedev – 50/37 
Rublev – 22/17 

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS 

Medvedev –16/3 
Rublev – 10/1 

BREAK POINTS WON 

Medvedev – 1/1 
Rublev – 0/0 

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE 

Medvedev – 59 
Rublev – 51 

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE 

Medvedev – 89/65 
Rublev – 80/61 

TOTAL POINTS 

Medvedev – 106 
Rublev – 90

Serena Williams marvelled at beaten opponent and fellow mother Tsvetana Pironkova after their exhausting US Open quarter-final on Wednesday.

Williams is aiming to win a grand slam for the first time since giving birth to her daughter in 2017, having lost four major finals in the intervening period as she remains one championship shy of Margaret Court's record 24.

Yet Pironkova's story heading into their last-eight meeting was perhaps even more remarkable still.

The Bulgarian, who had a son in 2018, was playing for the first time since Wimbledon three years ago and incredibly defeated two seeds en route to meeting Williams.

She had control of this latest clash for long periods, too, leading by a set and a break at one stage, but Williams rallied to triumph 4-6 6-3 6-2.

The 38-year-old gushed in her praise of Pironkova afterwards, however, saying in her on-court interview: "It just shows me how tough moms are.

"Whenever you can birth a baby, then honestly you can do anything. I think we saw that with Tsvetana today. She played unbelievable.

"[Playing for the first time since 2017] is unbelievable. Wow. I couldn't even do that. I could barely win a match when I came back. She's incredible.

"That's why I say I'm most influenced by moms. Like how do you do it?

"You play a match, you go home and you're still changing diapers. It's like a double life. It's really surreal."

Williams will now take on Elise Mertens or Victoria Azarenka in the semi-finals on Thursday and is targeting a faster start.

She said: "I play again tomorrow. The good news is I'm used to playing back to back to back to back to back, so in a way I'd kind of be used to it.

"But at the same time, I need to work out how to start a little bit faster."

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