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U.S. Open: Serena Williams starts slow but finishes fast

September 8, 2011 | 12:11 pm

Photo: Serena Williams. Credit: Nick Laham / Getty Images.  

Neither Serena Williams nor Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova could hold serve for the first six games of their U.S. Open quarterfinal match Thursday on Arthur Ashe Stadium, but when the 28th-seeded Williams finally got a grasp on how to play her service games, the match turned quickly.

Williams won the final four games of the first set and then dominated the second in her 7-5, 6-1 win over the 17th-seeded Russian, who was playing in her first U.S. Open quarterfinal. Williams finished the match with her seventh ace. She will play the winner of the match between top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki and 10th-seeded Andrea Petkovic in the semifinals.

"It was weird," Williams said. "I had a few errors in the beginning. I told myself 'Don't get too upset, you're still here.' It was interesting."

Williams had practiced indoors several times during the last few, rainy days. "Maybe that had something to do with it," Williams said. "Indoors it's a little faster."

Samantha Stosur, the ninth-seeded Australian who had spent the most time on court of any of the women's quarterfinalsts (Stosur needed 8 hours 35 minutes of tennis to advance that far compared to the 4:49 it had taken Williams), upset second-seeded Vera Zvonareva, 6-3, 6-3. Zvonareva was a finalist here a year ago and Stosur will play in her first Open semifinal.

-- Diane Pucin in New York

Photo: Serena Williams. Credit: Nick Laham / Getty Images.