Ruthless Serena grabs 100th US Open win as record title nears


New York

Serena Williams earned her 100th win at the US Open on Tuesday with a brutal 44-minute demolition of Wang Qiang, firing an ominous warning to rivals in her pursuit of record-tying 24th Grand Slam title.
Six-time US Open champion Williams dismantled Chinese 18th seed Wang 6-1, 6-0 in a complete mismatch that was the quickest at this year´s tournament to set up a semi-final clash with Ukrainian trailblazer Elina Svitolina.
“Wow, wow,” said Williams, who brought up a century of US Open wins to move to within one of the all-time leader Chris Evert.
“It´s really unbelievable, literally. From when I first started here, I think I was 16, I didn´t think I would ever get to 100. I didn´t think I would still be out here.”
Williams, who is seeking a 24th major title to match Margaret Court´s longstanding record, smacked 25 winners against first-time Slam quarter-finalist Wang, who failed to hit a single one.
The 27-year-old Wang had not lost a set during her best Slam run that included a defeat of reigning French Open champion Ashleigh Barty in the last 16, but she was powerless to stop a Williams onslaught at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Wang, trying to become just the fourth Chinese player to reach the last four of a Slam, won just four points in the second set and 15 in total.
“When I play someone who is playing really well, I know I have to either step it up or go home and I wasn´t ready to go home. I had to come out here and play really well,” Williams said.
“Physically I´m feeling great. More than anything I´m just having fun every time I come out here.”
Williams captured her last Slam title at the 2017 Australian Open while pregnant and hasn´t won the US Open since 2014.
Svitolina holds off Konta Fifth seed Svitolina defeated Britain´s Johanna Konta 6-4, 6-4 to become the first Ukrainian to reach the US Open semi-finals, advancing to the last four at a second consecutive Slam after matching her run to the Wimbledon semi-finals in July.
“It feels amazing. It was a very, very tough match. We were both striking the ball well. It was quite even. In the end I had to close it out on my serve,” Svitolina said. “I´m very, very happy the way I handled the pressure.”
Svitolina watched a pair of match points pass her by at 5-3 on her opponent´s serve as Konta gamely fought to stay alive, but the Ukrainian closed out victory in the following game.
Svitolina had already knocked out two-time former champion Venus Williams and 2017 runner-up Madison Keys and is in a class of her own as the only Ukrainian woman to reach this stage at a major.
She will attempt to emulate Andrei Medvedev as just the second Ukrainian to play in a Grand Slam final. Medvedev lost the men´s 1999 Roland Garros final in five sets to Andre Agassi.—Agencies