US Open: Serena Williams, defending champion Sloane Stephens reach quarters

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Stephens had quite a point, one that showed off the best of her versatile game, and so a reporter began recounting what happened to the defending U.S. Open champion after she won Sunday night to get back to the quarterfinals.

A day after celebrating her daughter Alexis Olympia's first birthday, Williams had a little celebration for herself on Sunday, securing a place in the U.S. Open quarter-finals with a topsy-turvy 6-0 4-6 6-3 win over Estonia's Kaia Kanepi to leave her on track for a record equalling 24th career Grand Slam.

After one of those Williams sisters showdowns that rarely fail to disappoint, we are back to the old debate at a Grand Slam event about who might be able to stop Serena.

"And I don't think it was capable of going up, because if it was at a 10, I was at a 15 or a 20 - and I'm still there". I worked really hard on that instead of trying to hit a trick shot or do fancy stuff.

Despite turning her right ankle in the first set against Venus, she seemed to pick up right where she left off against Kanepi, who knocked off No. 1 seed Simona Halep in the first round, thus opening up the draw for Serena.

Serena lets out a rear after taking a 3-0 lead in the final set against Kanepi.

With the Spanish legend in her corner for the fortnight, Pliskova acquired another voice of positivity.

But she couldn't convert two break chances in the 10th, and after Williams saved two set points Kanepi knotted the match with a service victor on her third set point.

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In the third set, in another momentum shift, Williams appeared to settle down again, moving through the games relatively well for the 6-3 result to take the match and earn her ticket to the quarterfinals.

"(Mertens) beat me two weeks ago so I knew that I had to come here and fight and do my best", Stephens said. On the way to another victory, Serena served 18 aces and made five breaks and made 47 winnersof with 22 unforced errors.

"The thing I've improved most is my fitness", Williams said. "I have watched her a great deal since then", she told a news conference.

In other women's action, No. 19 Anastasija Sevastova upset No. 7-seeded Elina Svitolina in three sets to reach the quarters.

Pliskova was the runner-up at Flushing Meadows in 2016, when she beat Serena Williams in the semifinals. "It's not tough, but I feel like I made one or two crucial errors and that cost me the second set, or at least cost me the first game". So I have some weapons, too.

"I hope it's going to be on Ashe", said Sevastova.

"Winning a big game and a very important game and a really tight game, I think it was just a relief".

He added: "Glad I won in three sets".