NEW YORK (AP) Mindful of a recent conversation with her sister, Serena Williams stayed cool in the third set for a breakthrough victory at the U.S. Open.
Williams ended a streak of losses in four consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinals Tuesday night, edging Lindsay Davenport 6-3, 6-7 (7), 7-5 to reach the semifinals.
During the match, Williams remembered a discussion while watching the Open on TV earlier in the tournament with older sister Venus, who happens to be the defending champion.
“Venus told me the other day that champions don”t get nervous in tight situations,” Williams said. “That really helped me a lot. I decided I shouldn”t get nervous and just do the best I can.”
Capping a furious exchange on her third match point, Williams ripped a forehand winner for the victory. In the semifinals, she plays top-seeded Martina Hingis, who advanced by beating Daja Bedanova 6-2, 6-0 in 42 minutes.
Williams won the 1999 Open at age 17, but has been frustrated in major events since. She lost to Davenport at the Open a year ago and lost three-set matches in three Grand Slam quarterfinals this year.
“I definitely should have been more serious in the past,” Williams said. “I get tired of losing in the quarterfinals all the time. I would like to go three steps father than the quarterfinals.”
She”ll try to take the next step tomorrow against Hingis, who has won their last three matches and leads the series 6-4.
Davenport said the result will depend largely on Williams.
“She has the game to overpower Martina,” Davenport said. “How many errors compared to winners she has will be the difference.”
Williams blew a 2-0 lead in the second set and failed to convert a pair of match points in the tiebreaker. In the final set, she went ahead 3-0 and was serving at 4-2, 40-love before Davenport made one last charge to reach 4-4.
In the final game, Williams hit a lunging crosscourt volley to make it 30-all, then smacked a return into the corner, out of Davenport”s reach. That gave Williams another match point, and this time she embraced the chance, belting three consecutive sizzling forehands, the third angled crosscourt for a winner.
Williams clenched her teeth, pumped her fists and screamed to celebrate the win, which heightened the prospect of an all-Williams final Saturday night.
Venus defeated Kim Clijsters 6-3. 6-1 on Wednesday to advance to the semi-finals.
“That would be great,” she said. “I”m sure TV would love it.”