Serena slugs her way to semifinals

Serena Williams is one step closer to a record-tying 24th grand slam singles title. Her win against Tsvetana Pironkova came in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open.

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September 10, 2020 - 9:35 AM

Serena Williams returns the ball during her U.S. Open Women's quarterfinal match against Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria Wednesday. Photo by Al Bello / Getty Images / TNS

NEW YORK (AP) — They were just two particular points from Serena Williams’ latest three-set comeback at the U.S. Open, yet they were pivotal and consisted of the sorts of lengthy exchanges filled with athleticism and brilliance that in any other, non-pandemic year would be marked by thousands of folks rising to their feet for delirious roars and raucous applause.

She needed both of these points to reverse a deficit that reached the scale of a set and a break after 45 minutes of her quarterfinal against Tsvetana Pironkova on a cloudy Wednesday in empty Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Williams needed both of these points during a five-game, match-altering run — along with her 20 aces — to end up on the right side of a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 score after more than two hours to get to the semifinals at Flushing Meadows for an 11th consecutive appearance.

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