Watch: Serena Williams executes three untouchable aces in final game to roar into US Open semi-finals

Serena Williams began her US Open quarter-final tentatively. Her shots lacked their usual sting, her attitude its usual conviction.

She was facing the last player she lost to at Flushing Meadows, and perhaps that was the problem. After just 20 minutes this afternoon, Williams was in danger of trailing by two service breaks.

Not much later, the outcome was no longer in doubt, because the 23-time Grand Slam champion suddenly was in complete control.

Williams put aside some early shakiness and an early deficit, turning things around with an eight-game run en route to a 6-4, 6-3 victory over No. 8 seed Karolina Pliskova for a spot in the semifinals.

"I thought, 'Oh, I've got to try harder,'" said Williams, who wound up with 22 of her 30 unforced errors in the first set.

By the end, Williams compiled a 13-3 edge in aces, and 35-12 in total winners.

Pliskova is a big server and hitter in her own right, someone who briefly spent time at No. 1 in the WTA rankings and was the runner-up at the US Open in 2016, when she beat Williams in the semi-finals.

The 36-year-old American did not compete in New York a year ago, because she gave birth to her daughter during the tournament.

Go back to 2015, and that was another semifinal departure for Williams, whose bid for a calendar-year Grand Slam was shockingly ended by Roberta Vinci.

"Well, I want to just be able to get past the semis here. It's been a few, couple, rough semis for me," Williams said. "But regardless, this has been a great road."

This time, Williams' semifinal opponent will be No. 19 seed Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia, who surprisingly beat defending champion Sloane Stephens 6-2, 6-3 earlier today.

Sevastova, who retired in 2013 because of injuries and returned nearly two years later, advanced to her first Slam semifinal.

"Still long way to go, I think," she said.

Especially considering that the next step will come against Williams, who's heading into her 36th semi at a major, 12th at Flushing Meadows.


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Serena was wrong: New report disproves Williams' 'sexism' claims made during - and after - US Open final meltdown

Serena Williams' claims of sexism from tennis officials have been debunked in spectacular fashion, with an investigation from the New York Times finding that men are hit with nearly three times the amount of conduct violations as their female counterparts.

Williams, 36, a 23-time single grand slam champion, was given three separate code violations in last week's US Open final, resulting in Naomi Osaka being awarded a crucial point penalty which gifted her game seven of the second set, then an even more crucial game penalty to gift her the next game, and a 5-3 second set lead.

In a fiery on court scene, Williams protested that she was a victim of sexism, telling tournament referee Brian Earley, "there are men out here who do a lot worse than me, but because I'm a woman you are going to take this away from me?

"That is not right."

However, the New York Times report finds Williams' claims are well wide of the mark.

In the 20-year period between 1998 and 2018, men have accrued 1,517 separate code violations, while women feature incurred 535.

The only real exception comes in terms of players being cited for coaching, with women being given violations 152 times, compared to men's 87.

Williams' first code violation was for coaching, before also notching up citations for racket abuse, and verbal abuse, calling chair umpire Carlos Ramos a "thief".

As a result of her outburst, Williams was slapped with a fine of NZ $25,700. 

She claimed over $2m in prize money for being the runner-up.

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 08:  Serena Williams of the United States argues with umpire Carlos Ramos during her Women's Singles finals match against Naomi Osaka of Japan on Day Thirteen of the 2018 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 8, 2018 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images for USTA)
Serena Williams of the United States argues with umpire Carlos Ramos during her women's singles US Open finals match against Naomi Osaka of Japan. Source: Getty


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'I just don't understand' - Serena Williams doubles down on claims of sexism in US Open final

Serena Williams is holding her ground on claims of sexism against chair umpire Carlos Ramos, following her explosive outburst at last week's US Open final defeat.

Williams, 36, a 23-time single grand slam champion, was given three separate code violations in her loss in the US Open final, resulting in Naomi Osaka being awarded a crucial point penalty which gifted her game seven of the second set, then an even more crucial game penalty to gift her the next game, and a 5-3 second set lead.

She would later add that the incident was sexist, and that male players are able to get away with worse on-court infringements.

Appearing on Australia's The Project, Williams spoke publicly for the first time about the ordeal.

"I just don't understand … if you're a female you should be able to do even half of what a guy can do," Williams said. 

Williams also hit back at Ramos' claims that she'd received coaching from trainer Patrick Mouratoglou - which he'd admitted to - denying her own involvement.

"He said he made a motion."

"I don't understand what he was talking about. We've never had signals."

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 08:  Serena Williams of the United States argues with umpire Carlos Ramos during her Women's Singles finals match against Naomi Osaka of Japan on Day Thirteen of the 2018 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 8, 2018 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images for USTA)
Serena Williams of the United States argues with umpire Carlos Ramos during her women's singles US Open finals match against Naomi Osaka of Japan. Source: Getty


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Umpire Carlos Ramos back to work after Serena Williams' US Open final outburst

The chair umpire who penalised Serena Williams in the US Open final is back at work.

Carlos Ramos is working the best-of-five Davis Cup semifinal series between Croatia and the United States.

"I'm just focusing on this tie and working again. That's all I can say," Ramos told The Associated Press.

Ramos officiated the second singles match between Marin Cilic and Frances Tiafoe, which was completed without incident.

Ramos calmed the raucous crowd on several occasions and came down from his chair to check a few ball marks in the clay but otherwise had no impact on the match, which Cilic won in straight sets to give Croatia a 2-0 lead.

"It was great. There were even a few calls where he came to check. Everything was really good," Cilic said. "The atmosphere was also great. I enjoyed every single second of the match."

Tiafoe, who was making his Davis Cup debut, also didn't have any complaints.

"I didn't know Ramos was sitting in the chair. I really wasn't paying attention," Tiafoe said. "I was more worried about the person across the net than the official."

US captain Jim Courier added: "We thought the officiating was excellent all day long."

Ramos gave Williams three code violations in her straight-set loss to Naomi Osaka last weekend, and the American great argued she wasn't being treated the same as some male players.

USTA president and CEO Katrina Adams, who defended Williams, was overheard apologising to Ramos on the sidelines of Thursday's draw ceremony.

Ramos wouldn't go into details over his discussion with Adams, who initiated the conversation.

"You know I cannot talk about that," Ramos said.

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 08:  Serena Williams of the United States argues with umpire Carlos Ramos during her Women's Singles finals match against Naomi Osaka of Japan on Day Thirteen of the 2018 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 8, 2018 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images for USTA)
Serena Williams of the United States argues with umpire Carlos Ramos during her women's singles US Open finals match against Naomi Osaka of Japan. Source: Getty


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US Open umpire Carlos Ramos breaks silence over Serena Williams controversy

The chair umpire who penalised Serena Williams in the US Open final has spoken publicly for the first time since the match, saying he is "fine."

Ramos, who is from Portugal, spoke briefly to Portuguese newspaper Tribuna Expresso this week.

"I'm fine, given the circumstances," Ramos said, according to the newspaper. "It's a delicate situation, but umpiring 'a la carte' doesn't exist. Don't worry about me."

The newspaper said Ramos received hundreds of messages of support from family, colleagues, players and former players.

He said he has avoided social media and only reads "balanced" articles about the incident. He also refrained from going out the day after the final to avoid problems, according to the report.

The International Tennis Federation has defended Ramos for his actions during the final. The US Open fined Williams for her three code violations.

The WTA later called for equal treatment of all tennis players and coaching to be allowed across the sport.

Ramos has been assigned to officiate the Davis Cup semifinal matches between the United States and Croatia, a best-of-five series which begins Friday and ends Sunday in Zadar, Croatia.

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 08:  Serena Williams of the United States argues with umpire Carlos Ramos during her Women's Singles finals match against Naomi Osaka of Japan on Day Thirteen of the 2018 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 8, 2018 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images for USTA)
Serena Williams of the United States argues with umpire Carlos Ramos during her women's singles US Open finals match against Naomi Osaka of Japan. Source: Getty


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