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Sunday April 18th, 2021 4:39AM

The Latest: Azarenka-Williams; Brady-Osaka set for semis

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

8:45 p.m.

Naomi Osaka vs. Jennifer Brady and Victoria Azarenka vs. Serena Williams are the two semifinal matches at the U.S. Open.

Osaka is the 2018 champion and Brady is the 28th seed in this year's U.S. Open. Williams has an 18-4 career edge against Azarenka.

Both matches are scheduled for Thursday at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

8:35 p.m.

Victoria Azarenka is headed to another U.S. Open showdown against Serena Williams with a shot at the final on the line.

Azarenka beat 16th-seeded Elise Mertens 6-1, 6-0 at Flushing Meadows and advanced to the semifinals to play the six-time U.S Open champion.

Williams needed three sets to knock off Azarenka in the 2013 final. Williams also won the 2012 final in three sets in a match that saw Azarenka ahead 5–3 in the third set and serving for the match.

Williams trailed by a set and a break against Tsvetana Pironkova before coming back to win 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 Wednesday in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Azarenka, one of nine mothers in this year’s field, won the Open-tuneup Western & Southern Open for her 21st career title. She made her first U.S. Open semifinal since 2013 and eighth grand slam semifinal overall.

Azarenka used a big serve to beat Mertens and she'll need it again to have a shot against Williams. Williams has an 18-4 career edge against Azarenka.

Azarenka has two major championships to Williams' 23.

_____

5:35 p.m.

Daniil Medvedev, the 2019 U.S. Open runner-up, is back in the semifinals at Flushing Meadows for the second year in a row.

The third-seeded Medvedev beat long-time pal Andrey Rublev 7-6 (6), 6-3, 7-6 (5) in an all-Russian quarterfinal Wednesday.

Medvedev has not dropped a set in the tournament so far and never faced a break point against No. 10 seed Rublev.

Medvedev also produced more than twice as many winners, 51-23.

He took a medical timeout in the third set to have a trainer massage his shoulder but held on.

A year after losing to Rafael Nadal in a nearly five-hour U.S. Open final, Medvedev will face No. 2 Dominic Thiem or No. 21 Alex de Minaur in Friday’s semifinals.

The other men’s semifinal will be No. 5 Alexander Zverev vs. No. 20 Pablo Carreño Busta.

None of the remaining men has won a Grand Slam title.

___

4 p.m.

Nicole Melichar of the United States and Xu Yifan of China have reached the women’s doubles final at the U.S. Open.

They beat the American duo of Asia Muhammad and Taylor Townsend 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7) in the semifinals Wednesday.

Neither Melichar nor Xu has won a Grand Slam title in women’s doubles. Melichar did team with Alexander Peya to win the mixed doubles trophy at Wimbledon in 2018, while Xu and Gabriela Dabrowski were the runners-up in women’s doubles at the All England Club last year.

In Friday’s final at Flushing Meadows, the third-seeded pair of Melichar and Xu will face the unseeded team of Laura Siegemund of Germany and Vera Zvonareva of Russia.

Siegemund and Zvonareva advanced Tuesday with a three-set victory over Anna Blinkova and Veronika Kudermetova.

Zvonareva has won two Grand Slam women’s doubles titles, including at the 2006 U.S. Open with Nathalie Dechy.

In the U.S. Open men’s doubles final Thursday, the eighth-seeded pairing of Wesley Koolhof of the Netherlands and Nikola Mektic of Croatia will face Mate Pavic of Croatia and Bruno Soares of Brazil.

___

2:35 p.m.

Serena Williams has pulled out another three-setter to reach the semifinals in an 11th consecutive U.S. Open appearance.

Williams trailed by a set and a break against Tsvetana Pironkova before coming back to win 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 Wednesday in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Two more victories for Williams, and she will claim a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title.

How big an upset would this have been if Pironkova had held on? Not only is she not seeded at Flushing Meadows, she isn’t even ranked. This was her first tournament of any sort in more than three years, because she left the tour to become a mother.

Williams last lost before the semifinals in New York all the way back in 2007, when Justine Henin eliminated her in the quarterfinals.

The American, who turns 39 in less than three weeks, has won a total of six championships at the U.S. Open and was the runner-up four times, including in 2018 and 2019.

___ 1:45 p.m.

Serena Williams has pushed her U.S. Open quarterfinal against Tsvetana Pironkova to a third set.

Pironkova took the opening set 6-4, then went up a quick break at 1-0 in the second.

But Williams broke back right away, then again to lead 5-3 by taking a 24-stroke exchange, and served out that set at 6-3.

Williams is seeded No. 3 and seeking her record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title.

Pironkova not only isn't seeded, she isn't even ranked at all, because this is her first tournament at any level in more than three years. She took time away from the tour to become a mother.

___

1:05 p.m.

Serena Williams has dropped the first set of her U.S. Open quarterfinal against unseeded Tsvetana Pironkova by a 6-4 score.

Pironkova is playing in her first tournament in more than three years after taking time off to become a mother.

She broke Williams to lead 3-2, then failed to convert two set points while Williams served at 5-3.

But Pironkova served it out in the next game. She won 20 of the 25 points she served in that set.

___

12:15 p.m.

Serena Williams is about to start her U.S. Open quarterfinal against unseeded Tsvetana Pironkova.

Williams is seeking her seventh championship at Flushing Meadows and record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title overall.

Pironkova is a 32-year-old from Bulgaria who is playing in her first tournament since she took a break of more than three years while having a son.

The other women's quarterfinal on Wednesday's schedule is No. 16 seed Elise Mertens against unseeded Victoria Azarenka, who has a nine-match winning streak.

The men's quarterfinals Wednesday are No. 2 seed Dominic Thiem against No. 21 Alex de Minaur and No. 3 Daniil Medvedev against No. 10 Andrey Rublev in an all-Russian matchup.

Medvedev was the runner-up in New York last year.

___

More AP tennis: https://apnews.com/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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