Venus continues her renaissance

If there were ever a match that deserved two winners, it was Tuesday night's contest between Venus Williams and Petra Kvitova in the quarter-finals of the US Open.

The 27-year-old beat pre-tournament favourite Garbine Muguruza in the fourth round and on Tuesday came close to upsetting local favourite Williams before succumbing to a 6-3 3-6 7-6 (2) defeat. "But we have to play step by step."Stephens has won 13 of her past 15 matches and matched her 2013 Australian Open semi-final run for best Slam effort". She will now face an American challenge in Sloane Stephens in the semifinals.

According to BBC Sports, Madison Keys and Coco Vandeweghe will try to join their compatriots in the last four when they play their quarter-finals on Wednesday. "That would be huge".

Kvitova is relishing the challenge of facing the ninth seed who this season reached her first two Grand Slam finals since 2009 at the Australian Open and Wimbledon.

"I was surprised by how well she responded and how motivated she was to come back", said her coach, Jiri Vanek.


"I'm glad that I am still able to compete against the top players", said the 2011 and 2014 Wimbledon champion.

When asked how she compares this latest string of victories with that period, she said, "I think I have a better perspective and just looking at the game totally different".

Trying to gather some momentum she came in NY without having big goals but she is only one match away from reaching the last four stages for the very first time.

"It's great for African-American women", Stephens said. But, true to form, Williams did not allow the temporary obstacle to shift her focus, and she forced Kvitova to hit wide on match point.

The roof was closed as drops of rain started to fall and, after that brief interruption, Kvitova saved two break points before levelling the tie with a big first serve that Williams returned long.


"It's tough to say right now but overall, I think it's fantastic (to reach the semi-finals)", she said.

But only Williams, the No. 9 seed, will get to keep riding the wave in NY.

"I'm getting there slowly", Kvitova said on the eve of the tournament when asked if things were "back to normal". Playing in her 19th US Open, the 37-year-old continues to impress on and off the court. "That feels good and I did not want to let you guys down", Williams told the 23,000 crowd on Arthur Ashe Stadium, before adding a word for her opponent, who was stabbed in her left hand by an intruder at her home last December. Not only are both players among the most beloved and respected in the game, they both showed remarkable shot-making and competitive fire in a captivating three-set match that kept spectators guessing. "I was running every ball just trying to save it". No doubt both players will be thinking that in the back of their mind as they contest a massive Grand Slam Quarter-Final, where the victor is expected to at least progress to the final dance. She had begun practicing with "soft balls from the net" and it had felt "very, very weird", as she put it in France.

Kvitova, on the comeback trail after sustaining a career-threatening injury during a home invasion late a year ago, hit back to force a third set but was unable to match her opponent's composure in the decisive tiebreak.



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