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Serena advances to US Open semis

Serena advances to US Open semis

NEW YORK – US fourth seed Serena Williams advanced to the US Open semi-finals for the fourth time in five years on Wednesday by defeating Serbian 12th seed Ana Ivanovic 6-1, 6-3 in 58 minutes.

Three-time champion Williams, a 14-time Grand Slam winner who lost to Samantha Stosur in last year’s final, will next play on Friday against Italian 10th seed Sara Errani for a berth in Saturday’s championship match.

“It’s going to be a good matchup. She is such a fighter. She’s so strong and quick,” Williams said. “I’m just so happy to be in the semis. It’s so cool.”

Williams has only dropped 16 games through five matches while blasting a tournament-best 41 aces, including 12 against outmatched Ivanovic, a former World No. 1 who won a Grand Slam title at the 2008 French Open.

“I came out really strong,” Williams said. “Playing someone like Ana, the former No. 1, I knew I had to come out strong and play some amazing tennis.” – AFP

Murray back from brink as Cilic chokes

Murray back from brink as Cilic chokes

NEW YORK – Andy Murray reached a second successive US Open semi-final on Wednesday after Croatia’s Marin Cilic squandered a set and 5-1 lead to lose their quarter-final 3-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2, 6-0.

Third seed Murray goes on to face either world number one Roger Federer, the five-time champion who beat him in the 2008 final, or Czech sixth seed Tomas Berdych for a place in Sunday’s final.

Wednesday’s win was Murray’s seventh in eight meetings with 12th-seeded Cilic, whose only victory over the Briton came in the fourth round in New York in 2009 when he raced to a straight-sets triumph.

But after twice serving for the second set, the 23-year-old Cilic’s game fell to pieces, being broken in the fifth and seventh games of the third set.

Murray, the Olympic champion and Wimbledon runner-up to Federer this year, was quickly 4-0 ahead in the fourth set as Cilic, who came into the match having spent over three hours more on court than the Scot, wilted.

Murray broke three more times in the fourth set with the Croat winning just four points on his own serve.

Cilic ended the three-hour encounter having won just three more games from 5-1 ahead in the second set. – AFP

Berdych sends Federer crashing out of US Open

Berdych sends Federer crashing out of US Open

NEW YORK – Roger Federer saw his dream of becoming the first man in 87 years to win six US Opens destroyed by big-swinging Czech Tomas Berdych Wednesday in the Swiss legend’s earliest New York defeat in nine years.

The 17-time Grand Slam title winner, bidding to reach his 33rd Grand Slam semi-final and ninth in a row at the US Open, was beaten 7-6 (7/1), 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 by sixth-seeded Berdych.

“It couldn’t be better,” Berdych said. “There’s no better moment so far than this one.”

It was Federer’s worst defeat at the tournament since losing to David Nalbandian in the fourth round in 2003.

Berdych, who went into the quarter-final with a 4-11 record against the world number one, will now face British third seed Andy Murray for a place in Sunday’s title match.

“I’ll just try to bring something from today and try to add something a little more for my next match,” Berdych said.

The 26-year-old Czech has reached the last four in New York for the first time while Saturday will be his first Grand Slam semi-final since he reached the Wimbledon final in 2010.

That was the tournament where he also defeated Federer in the quarter-finals.

In an extraordinary reversal of fortune, Wednesday’s clash was Berdych’s first appearance in a night match on the main stadium.

Wimbledon champion Federer, by contrast, went into the tie with a perfect 21 wins in his night-time outings.

There was no sign of the drama to come when Federer, who hadn’t played since Saturday as a result of Mardy Fish’s decision to withdraw from their fourth-round clash, broke to lead in the first game of the quarter-final.

But Berdych levelled at 3-3 before romping through the tie-break, taking the opener with his fifth ace.

The big Czech broke for a 1-0 lead in the second set with Federer under siege, having to save two break points in the fifth game.

His resistance cracked, however, under the relentless barrage as a brutal forehand, on the back of two double faults by the top seed, made it a double-break for 5-2.

Federer retrieved one of the breaks in the eighth game before Berdych served it out with a love game in the 10th.

Berdych was 1-0 with a break in the third before Federer pulled it back at 3-3 when the Czech suddenly looked vulnerable with a third double fault of his own.

Federer held to love for 4-3, broke for 5-3 and then claimed the third set when Berdych failed to chase down a drop shot as the top seed looked to pull off a third fightback from two sets to love down in Grand Slams this year.

But Berdych settled himself to break for 5-3 in the fourth set and give himself a chance to serve for the match.

He went comfortably to three match points and claimed a famous win when Federer dumped a lame service return into the net, the last of his uncharacteristic 40 unforced errors. – AFP