Serena Striding Towards Grand Slam Record

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Serena Williams is two wins away from a 24th Grand Slam but faces a tricky semi-final, while Daniil Medvedev is fancied to reach a second straight US Open final.

Serena Williams celebrates her come from behind win over Tsvetana Pironkova in the US Open quarter-finals.

Serena Williams is two wins away from a 24th Grand Slam but face a tricky semi-final, while Daniil Medvedev is fancied to reach a second straight US Open final.

We’ve reached the semi-final stage of the US Open at Flushing Meadows and there remains an open feeling to the Grand Slam event on both the men’s and women’s side of the singles.

Serena Williams has her eye on securing a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles title after coming from behind to beat Tsvetana Pironkova in the quarters in the women’s draw and she remains the one to beat heading into the final four stage.

Serena on Course to Break Slam Record

Serena is not the virtually unbeatable force she once was but she has displayed a steely determination not be dismissed so far this year and it will take a big performance from semi-final opponent Victoria Azarenka, who herself has rolled back the years to make this stage, to prevent the American star from reaching the final.

Williams made good progress in the Big Apple initially, not dropping a set in the first two rounds, before needing three sets to get the better of Sloane Stephens and Maria Sakkari. She successfully built up her rhythm when getting past Pironkova after losing the first set and another 2-1 overall victory in the last four over the former world number one Azarenka, who was not even seeded coming into the event, could well be on the cards.

Williams has won 18 of her previous 22 meetings with Azarenka, including two victories in the US Open final, and appears good value, too, at 11/10 to win when she can utilise all her big-game experience to see her through to familiar final territory.

Osaka Eyeing Second US Open Crown

Naomi Osaka looks like being the biggest obstacle to Williams’ record Major bid and the Japanese star is priced at 13/10 to claim what would be a third Grand Slam title.

At 22, she has youth on her side compared to the other three semi-finalists and will be confident of overpowering Jennifer Brady, who is currently ranked 72 in the world – 62 places lower than Osaka – to make the final.

Brady has performed way beyond expectations to reach her first Slam semi-final but looks set to come up short, even with Osaka not at 100 per cent. The 2018 US Open champion is priced at 5/13 to win the semi showdown.

No Novak Presents New Opportunities

With Novak Djokovic disqualified earlier in the men’s competition for lashing a ball into a line judge, and no Rafa Nadal or Roger Federer present, there will be a new name on the men’s US Open trophy for the first time since 2014.

Daniil Medvedev (5/4f – Tournament Outright) has been the stand-out performer so far and the Russian, who is yet to drop a set en route to the last four, takes on the impressive Dominic Thiem in Friday’s semi, looking to book his place in the final for a second straight year.

Medvedev the Man to Beat?

In 2019, Medvedev put on a brave showing but ultimately lost out in five sets to Nadal in the final but such is his form in the major so far this year that seeing off Thiem shouldn’t hold too many fears, even though it’s surely to be his toughest test to date in the tournament.

These two have met three times previously, with Thiem edging their head-to-head record 2-1 overall but, perhaps crucially, Medvedev won their only meeting on an outdoor hard surface – in straight sets in Montreal last summer – to suggest he can progress at odds of 4/5.

The 24-year-old seems unlikely to preserve his perfect set record, however, but victory in four seems achievable and another final place beckons.

Zverev Should Prevail

In the other men’s semi, Alexander Zverev is odds-on at 4/11 to knock out surprise last-four contender and 20th seed Pablo Carreno Busta, who has seemingly punched above his weight to get to this stage.

Zverev, seeded fifth, has clearly not been at his best in New York and overcame a wretched first set display to eventually beat Borna Coric 1-6 7-6 7-6 6-3 in the last eight but Carreno Busta has been somewhat inconsistent himself thus far.

The Spaniard prevailed in five sets against Denis Shapovalov in the previous round but the final scoreline of 3-6 7-6 7-6 0-6 6-3 may just give away the fact Carreno Busta has obvious weaknesses to his game Zverev should be able to exploit.

A sports journalist for over 15 years, Aidan has been part of written and audio coverage on a wide-ranging number of events. Having played and coached at amateur level, he offers in-depth insight and opinion into the world of football in particular.
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