Serena Williams was forced to dig deep to secure a 4-6 6-3 6-2 US Open quarter-final victory over unseeded Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova yesterday, keeping alive her latest bid for a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title.
Williams, 38, a six-times champion in New York, struggled with Pironkova's slice forehand early and was at risk of her earliest US Open exit in 14 years until she used her experience to find a way back.
For Pironkova, who dropped to 0-5 in career head-to-head meetings with Williams, the loss marked the end of a surprise New York run given this was her first professional tournament since Wimbledon in 2017 after becoming a mother.
Williams, on Pironkova's return after three years ou. saidt: "It shows me how tough mums are! Whenever you can birth a baby, honestly you can do anything. We saw that today, she played unbelievable.
"I could barely win a match when I came back, so she's incredible. Her baby has to be younger than mine."