Thursday 8 December 2016

Serena Williams claims 'significant' record after 308th Grand Slam win in New York

Tom Allnutt

Published 06/09/2016 | 09:57

Serena Williams of the United States celebrates after winning match point against Yarolslava Shvedova on day eight of the 2016 U.S. Open tennis tournament. Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Serena Williams of the United States celebrates after winning match point against Yarolslava Shvedova on day eight of the 2016 U.S. Open tennis tournament. Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Serena Williams sealed a record-breaking 308th grand slam victory by beating Yaroslava Shvedova in the US Open fourth round.

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Williams cruised past Shvedova 6-2 6-3 in Arthur Ashe Stadium to move above Roger Federer in the all-time list of major wins.

The world number one will now face fifth seed Simona Halep in the quarter-finals at Flushing Meadows as she chases an Open-era record 23rd grand slam title and another spot in the history books.

It was 18 years ago that Williams won her first grand slam match when she beat Irina Spirlea in the opening round of the 1998 Australian Open. She has won 22 major titles since.

"I think it's really exciting, I just think winning 308 matches in general is pretty awesome. For that to be in a grand slam is pretty cool," Williams said.

"It's a huge number. I think it's very significant actually. I think it's something that just really talks about the length of my career, in particular.

"I've been playing for a really long time but also given that consistency up there, that's something that I'm really proud of."

Williams came into the tournament with concerns about a right shoulder injury but the 34-year-old is yet to have her serve broken in New York and has given away only one break point.

"I don't think I really served in the summer until I got here to New York so it was a really tough summer for me. Maybe that's the key," Williams said.

"When I serve well I feel like it definitely helps me to be able to know that I can hold. I definitely feel like I can play returns easier."

Williams had been due for a family match-up in the semi-finals here but older sister Venus blew match point before losing in a final-set tie-break to 10th seed Karolina Pliskova.

Venus, aged 36, was bidding to become the oldest grand slam quarter-finalist since Martina Navratilova at Wimbledon in 1994 but Pliskova snatched a thrilling 4-6 6-4 7-6 (7/3) victory in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Pliskova had to battle back from the brink as she trailed Williams by a set and 3-1, and then 5-4 in the decider, when the American came within a point of victory on her opponent's serve.

"I really played the perfect point there, and she managed to stay alive," Williams said.

"She hit a great serve. She hit another great shot and I still played a great defensive shot. I did the best I could on that.

"Whenever you have a match point on someone else's serve, it's a little bit of an asterisk. I really have no regrets on that."

Pliskova also spurned match points, including three when serving at 6-5, 40-0 in the final set.

Williams saved them all to force a tie-break but the 24-year-old regained her composure to reach the last eight of a grand slam for the first time in her career.

"I couldn't be just mad that I didn't make it because I still had a chance to win the tie-break," Pliskova said.

The world number 11 is a dark horse for the title, having beaten Garbine Muguruza and Angelique Kerber, ranked third and second respectively, to become champion in Cincinnati last month.

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