Sep 09, 2016

    Pliskova can go toe-to-toe with Williams


    SERENA Williams will be wary of another semi-final slip-up when she takes to the Arthur Ashe Stadium court today to face 10th seed Karolina Pliskova for a spot in the final.

    A year ago, she arrived at the semi-finals on the cusp of a rare calendar slam when unseeded Italian Roberta Vinci, a 300-to-1 long shot to reach the final, recorded one of the biggest upsets in grand slam tennis.

    It has appeared lesson learnt for the world number one, who has been all business at Flushing Meadows, playing with unusual intensity and focus as she zeroes in on what would be a record seventh US Open title in the professional era.

    Standing in the way of her ninth trip to the final is big-hitting Pliskova who has led the WTA Tour in aces in the last two seasons.

    She is one of the few players capable of going toe-to-toe with the muscular American.

    "There will be a lot of aces in that match, I think," said Williams, who laid down 18 aces in her quarter-final win over Simona Halep.

    "I haven't played against many big servers recently but she places her serve really well."

    There is no calendar slam up for grabs this year but history continues to beckon Williams, who would stand alone as the greatest grand slam champion in the Open Era if she can claim a 23rd title.

    That would move her past Steffi Graf and leave her one shy of Margaret Court at the top of the all-time list.