US Open 2014: Serena Williams beats Flavia Pennetta to reach semi-finals

Williams reached the semi-finals in emphatic fashion, crushing Flavia Pennetta 6-3 6-2 in just 63 minutes

New York

Eight of the top nine women’s seeds fell before the quarter-finals of the US Open, but the world No 1 and overwhelming favourite for the title remains on course to make a successful defence of her crown. Serena Williams reached the semi-finals in emphatic fashion, crushing Flavia Pennetta 6-3, 6-2 in just 63 minutes to claim her 19th consecutive victory at the tournament.

Williams has not dropped a set in her first five matches here and has lost just 22 games in total, though she needed to make a rapid recovery following a slow start. Looking sluggish and out of sorts, the 32-year-old American lost her first two service games and was 3-0 down after only eight minutes as Pennetta found her stride immediately.

Pennetta raised Italian hopes that she might get the better of the world No 1 for the first time in their six meetings, but order was quickly restored. Williams soon started hitting the ball more cleanly and won six games in a row to take the first set. Pennetta again started well in the second set, but from 2-1 down Williams won five games in succession to take the match. For all Pennetta’s graceful athleticism, Williams’ sheer power proved decisive.

“I don't feel like I was doing too much wrong,” Williams said of her slow start. “I just said to myself that if she keeps it up then she absolutely deserves the win. I just tried to do a little better. I had a lot of fun today. I really enjoyed it and I’m so happy to have won.”

Williams now plays Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova, who beat the American in the Australian Open two years ago. The other semi-final will see Caroline Wozniacki, the 2009 runner-up, take on Shuai Peng, who, like Makarova, will be playing at this stage of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time.

Although Williams has a big lead at the top of the world rankings, the American has had a disappointing year until now in the Grand Slam tournaments. She had not reached a quarter-final at a Grand Slam event until she arrived here.

“I've had a tough year in the majors and I've [lost to] some great players that weren't in the top 10,” Williams said. “You can never underestimate anyone. We're all fighting really hard and we all deserve to be here.”

Williams is attempting to win her 18th Grand Slam singles title, which would put her level with Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova on the all-time list. She would also become the first woman to win the title here three times in a row since Evert in the late 1970s.

News
One Direction's Zayn Malik gazes at a bouquet of flowers in the 'Night Changes' music video
people
News
people
News
'Free the Nipple' film screening after party with We Are The XX, New York, America - 04 Feb 2014
news
Arts and Entertainment
Russell Tovey, Myanna Buring and Julian Rhind Tutt star in Banished
tvReview: The latest episode was a smidgen less depressing... but it’s hardly a bonza beach party
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss
Tony Blair joins a strange and exclusive club of political leaders whose careers have been blighted by the Middle East

Blair has joined a strange and exclusive club

A new tomb has just gone up in the Middle East's graveyard of US and British political reputations, says Patrick Cockburn
Election 2015: Meet the top 12 wacky candidates seeking your vote in May

Election 2015

Meet the top 12 wacky candidates seeking your vote in May