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Williams, Halep, Pliskova, Konjuh reach US Open q/finals

Serena Williams, along with other tested hands - Simona Halep, Karolina Pliskova, Ana Konjuh, et al - have reached the q/finals of the ongoing US Open.

Serena Williams, along with other tested hands – Simona Halep, Karolina Pliskova, Ana Konjuh, et al – have reached the quarterfinals of the ongoing US Open.

The US Open officially got down to business on Monday, closing out the weekend and opening the run, in earnest, at the 2016 US Open men’s and women’s singles championships.

Leading the way, as she has done so many times before, was six-time titlist World number 1, Williams in a dominant 6-2, 6-3 performance.

She eased to victory against Yaroslava Shvedova, but should face her first elite-level test in her quarterfinal with Simona Halep.

[Halep looks to be in impressive form after a straight sets win over Carla Suarez Navarro.]

The inimitable American made history once again on Day 8.

Dispatching Shvedova, she hit her 308th career Grand Slam singles victory – the most of any player, man or woman, in history.

She broke a tie with Roger Federer and now two ahead of Martina Navratilova.

Serena’s victory finished a day session of fan favorites in Arthur Ashe Stadium – not that the favored favorites always prevailed. 

Her sister, Venus Williams was not so fortunate, though. 

After a Houdini escape from down triple match point late in the third set, Venus ran out of magic in the decisive tiebreak.

Her dream of a third US Open singles title disappeared at the hands of the talented Czech Karolina Pliskova.

The match of the day was Pliskova’s win over Venus Williams, which was sealed in a third set tiebreak after close to two and a half hours on court. 

The older Williams sister was as magnanimous in defeat as Pliskova was delighted. 

“I live in the present so I move on. I learn from this and I just keep going,” Williams said afterwards.

Konjuh’s win completed the quarterfinal lineup, with Serena Williams, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova all having recorded wins earlier in the day.

Two months on from a painful second round defeat at Wimbledon, Croatia’s Konjuh smiled again. 

On Monday night, she triumphed against the fourth seed Radwanska, to reach her first Grand Slam quarterfinal.

The loss at Wimbledon was all the more difficult for Konjuh given she had held match points before suffering a painful fall – she eventually lost 9-7 in the final set. 

This time round, however, the teenager was in dominant mood, crashing six aces past Radwanska on her way to a 64 64 victory.

“I’m just really happy. I played her in Wimbledon. It was a tough match. This time I took opportunities,” she said later.

Konjuh, who won the girls’ singles title here in 2013, started slowly, allowing Radwanska to go an early break ahead.

But that was as good as it got for the world No. 4. 

Konjuh broke back immediately, secured the crucial break in the seventh game, and held firm on serve to close out the opening set.

The second set went with serve until the ninth game, where strong hitting from Konjuh gave her three break point chances. 

She took the second of them with a backhand volley winner before serving out confidently for the biggest win of her career.

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