Serena Williams, the No.3 seed, dug deep Monday to overcome Greece’s Maria Sakkari 6-3 6-7 6-3 to advance into the quarter-finals of the 2020 US Open.
The victory was significant for Williams for several reasons: she stays on track for her dream 24th Grand slam.
It was also a revenge of sorts for her loss in the third round of the Western & Southern Open nearly two weeks ago.
And winning also means that Williams had garnered a record 100 wins at the Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Williams easily won the first set after securing breaking Sakkari once.
The second set was tougher as it went into a tie-break.
Sakkari raced to a 4-0 lead, but Williams fought back to tie her 6-6, only to commit errors to hand the set to the Greek.
The decider was the toughest as the two players put everything into it.
Sakkari threatened a repeat win by opening the third set with a break of serve against the No. 3 seed, but Williams answered with a break of her own to right the ship and take a 3-2 lead.
With pressure mounting as the set wore on, Williams chipped away at Sakkari’s serve until she finally got another break to go up 5-3 and served out the match in the following game.
When asked if thoughts of her recent loss to Sakkari entered her head during the match, Williams admitted they were there, but not for long.
“Of course I thought about it, but ever so little because it’s a completely different match and a completely different moment here. I just kept fighting,” said Williams on court after the match. “She was doing so well and being so aggressive, I just knew I had to do the same thing.”
Williams is the third American in the quarter-finals, joining Jennifer Brady and Shelby Rogers.
Next, she will face either Tsvetana Pironkova, who beat Alize Cornet, in three sets.