NEW YORK: Serena Williams gave a premature victory leap in her fourth-round match and later allowed herself a self-deprecating celebration after beating Kaia Kanepi to reach the US Open quarter-finals yesterday.
World number one Williams is gunning for her third US Open title in a row but for the moment, she saw her 6-3, 6-3 victory over the Estonian as an important hurdle after failing to get past the fourth round in this year’s other Grand Slams.
Williams jumped up and thrust her arms after 50th-ranked Kanepi netted a backhand on break point, but the mistake only made it 5-3 in the American’s favor.
Top seeded Williams failed to serve out the match, but made amends by breaking Kanepi for the fourth time in the set to complete a 65-minute victory and advance to the last eight at Flushing Meadows.
“I finally made a quarter-final this year!” she shouted to the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd with arms upraised. “Glad to do it in New York.”
Williams will meet Italian 11th seed Flavia Pennetta, a semi-finalist last year who advanced with a 7-5, 6-2 win against 29th-seeded Australian Casey Dellacqua.
Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic became the first men’s player into the quarter-finals, when the top-seeded Serb beat 22nd seed Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany 6-1 7-5 6-4.
Djokovic will meet either eighth seed Andy Murray of Britain or ninth-seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Making the quarters would seem like old hat to Williams, who has won 17 career grand slam singles crowns and is bidding to become the first woman to win three US titles in a row since Chris Evert claimed four straight from 1975-1978.
But this has been a frustrating season on the big stage for Williams, who lost in the fourth round in the Australian Open, the third round in Wimbledon and the second round at Roland Garros. “I’m just pleased to make it to a Grand Slam quarters this year,” she said. REUTERS