Serena battles through tension-filled U.S. Open fourth round

Tennis: US OPEN
Sep 7, 2020; Flushing Meadows, New York, USA; Serena Williams of the United States celebrates after match point against Maria Sakkari of Greece (not pictured) on day eight of the 2020 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. (Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports

September 7, 2020

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Serena Williams advanced to the U.S. Open quarter-finals after a gritty, tension-soaked 6-3 6-7(6) 6-3 win over Greece’s Maria Sakkari on Monday.

The 23-time Grand Slam winner came up short in the second-set tiebreak, with her power serve abandoning her when she needed it most.

Sakkari carried the momentum into the third set as she started the decider with a break.

But the 38-year-old American once again showed the battling instincts that has made her one of the all-time greats. She broke back to level for 2-2 as Sakkari’s forehand started to misfire.

The six-time Flushing Meadows champion marked her 100th win on Arthur Ashe Stadium with a roar that could be heard all around the grounds.

“I just kept fighting,” said Williams, who lost to Sakkari two weeks ago in the Western & Southern Open.

“She was doing so well she was being so aggressive.

“I knew I needed to do the same thing.”

(Reporting by Amy Tennery, editing by Pritha Sarkar)