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Wednesday July 17th, 2019 7:18AM

The Latest: Serena beats Kanepi, reaches US Open quarters

By The Associated Press
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NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on the U.S. Open tennis tournament (all times local):

5:45 p.m.

Serena Williams started fast and finished strong to reach the quarterfinals by beating Kaia Kanepi 6-0, 4-6, 6-3.

Williams, seeded 17th, won the first set in just 18 minutes. She quickly seized control again after dropping the second, racing to a 3-0 lead in the final set.

The six-time U.S. Open champion, who missed the tournament last year and gave birth to her daughter during it, advanced to face 2016 finalist and No. 8 seed Karolina Pliskova.

Kanepi, the 44th-ranked Estonian who knocked out top-ranked Simona Halep, was trying to make her second straight U.S. Open quarterfinal.

___

3:50 p.m.

Karolina Pliskova reached the U.S. Open quarterfinals for the third consecutive year, beating No. 18 seed Ashleigh Barty 6-4, 6-4.

Pliskova was the runner-up at Flushing Meadows in 2016, when she beat Serena Williams in the semifinals. They could meet again this year in the quarters.

Against Barty, the eighth-seeded Pliskova won all 10 of her service games, saving 8 of 8 break points.

___

3:40 p.m.

Rafael Nadal is back in the U.S. Open quarterfinals after beating Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-3, 6-3, 6-7 (6), 6-4.

The defending champion will next face No. 9 seed Dominic Thiem. That will be a rematch of Nadal's victory in the French Open final and will be their first meeting not on clay.

The top-ranked Spaniard improved to 8-2 in fourth-round matches in the U.S. Open, rebounding from dropping the tiebreaker in the third set Sunday to break the Georgian's serve twice in the fourth set.

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1:55 p.m.

Dominic Thiem has eliminated 2017 U.S. Open finalist Kevin Anderson with a 7-5, 6-2, 7-6 (2) victory in the fourth round.

Anderson was hoping to earn a rematch with Rafael Nadal, who beat him last year in the final at Flushing Meadows. The No. 5 seed had also reached the Wimbledon final this year.

Instead it's the ninth-seeded Thiem could play the top-ranked Nadal in the quarterfinals. That would be a rematch of this year's French Open final, won by Nadal.

___

11:40 a.m.

Serena Williams felt she played her best match since her return to tennis while routing her sister in the last round.

She'll need to be sharp again, with Kaia Kanepi looking to knock out another women's tennis star.

Williams and Kanepi meet in a fourth-round match Sunday, when defending U.S. Open champions Rafael Nadal and Sloane Stephens also are in action.

Serena, seeded 17th, routed Venus 6-1, 6-2 Friday in matching the most-lopsided victory in the Williams sisters' series. That put her into the match against Kanepi, the 44th-ranked Estonian who upset top-ranked Simona Halep in the first round and is seeking her second consecutive quarterfinal in Flushing Meadows.

Nadal faces Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia and a victory for the top-ranked player could set up a quarterfinal matchup with No. 5 seed Kevin Anderson, whom he beat for last year's title.

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More AP tennis coverage: https://www.apnews.com/tag/apf-Tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Tennis, AP Sports - Men's Tennis, AP Sports - Women's Tennis
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