US Open 2018 Live Updates: Serena Williams Beats Pliskova to Reach Semifinals

Nadal takes second set vs. Thiem

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Rafael Nadal is playing Dominic Thiem in the U.S. Open quarterfinals, a rematch of the French Open final.

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Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times

Rafael Nadal won his first game against Dominic Thiem on Tuesday to open the second set. Nadal then started to gain traction in Thiem’s service games, and Thiem, who had only two unforced errors in the first set, had 12 in the second. Nadal won 14 of the last 20 points in the set, breaking Thiem twice, to even the match, 0-6, 6-4.

Thiem stuns Nadal in first set

Dominic Thiem was expected to be a challenge for top-seeded Rafael Nadal. But few could have predicted that Thiem would win the first set 6-0 in 24 minutes.

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Dominic Thiem was trying to advance to his first U.S. Open semifinal.

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Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times

According to Tennis Abstract, Nadal has lost a set 6-0 only 14 times since 2004. It’s happened only three times at a Grand Slam event: against Andy Roddick at the 2004 U.S. Open, against Roger Federer in 2006 Wimbledon and against Tomas Berdych in the 2015 Australian Open. Nadal lost all three of those matches.

Serena Williams reaches the semifinals

In a streaky match, Serena Williams defeated Karolina Pliskova, 6-4, 6-3. Down 2-4 in the first set, Williams reeled off eight straight games and then held on to take the match. She closed it out with her 13th ace.

Pliskova, the No. 8 seed, was the last top-10 woman remaining. No. 14 Madison Keys, a finalist here last year, is now the highest seeded in singles.

Williams is seeded 17th, higher than No. 26 ranking, as she works her way back after giving birth to her daughter last September.

But there is no doubt she is the favorite. Williams, a six-time U.S. Open champion, has reached the semifinals or better in her last nine appearances at the tournament.

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She will play No. 19 seed Anastasija Sevastova on Thursday night.

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Serena Williams has reached the semifinals at the U.S. Open for the 12th time in her career.

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Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times

Serena Williams wins first set

Serena Williams was broken in the third game of the first set against Karolina Pliskova, but rallied to win the last four games and claim the set, 6-4.

With the loss of third-seeded Sloane Stephens earlier Tuesday, Pliskova is the only remaining top-10 seed in the women’s singles tournament.

Serena Williams vs. Karolina Pliskova is about to begin

Karolina Pliskova beat Serena Williams in the U.S. Open semifinals two years ago on her way to the final. She can’t wait to play Williams again.

“I came here to play that match,” said Pliskova, who has yet to lose a set in this tournament. “If I’m this far, I want to be in Arthur Ashe, playing Serena. I remember that feeling. It doesn’t have to be that I beat her, but just to be there and play against her. I know she’s not No. 1 now as she was two years ago, but she’s still an amazing player.”

The players will walk on to the Arthur Ashe Stadium court around 7 p.m. Eastern.

Del Potro outlasts Isner

Juan Martín del Potro, the 2009 U.S. Open champion, reached the semifinals for the second year in a row, defeating the top American man, 11th-seeded John Isner, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-2.

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Juan Martin del Potro reached the U.S. Open semifinals for the second year in a row.

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Uli Seit for The New York Times

In a 3-hour-31 minute match that began in the hottest part of the day, del Potro withstood 26 aces from Isner with superb serving on his own. The third-seeded del Potro won 89 percent of his first-serve points. He also had only 14 unforced errors to go with 49 winners.

Del Potro will get two days of rest before Friday’s semifinal, where he will play either Rafael Nadal or Dominic Thiem. Nadal eliminated del Potro from the French Open and Wimbledon this year and beat him in the U.S. Open semifinals last year.

Isner, a semifinalist at Wimbledon, is having his finest season at age 33. He will now take a bit of a break from tennis as he awaits the birth of his first child, a daughter, later this month.

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Junior matches resume

Around 3:45 p.m., play in the junior tournament began again after it had been suspended because of heat rules. The heat break lasted approximately two and a half hours.

Who are those del Potro fans?

If you are watching the U.S. Open on TV, you will notice many shots of a rowdy group of men in a suite, cheering for Juan Martín del Potro against John Isner with a wide variety of songs and chants.

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Friends of Juan Martin del Potro have been cheering for him from a suite in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

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Uli Seit for The New York Times

They are del Potro superfans, of course. But they are more than that. They are his childhood friends from Tandil, Argentina.

They have been a constant presence at his matches at the Open, enlivening even his most straightforward appearances at Ashe Stadium.

Del Potro did not lose a set in the first four rounds, but Isner took the first set of their quarterfinal, 7-6 (5), before dropping the second.

Sevastova ousts Stephens

On another steamy day, another top woman was eliminated from the tournament. No. 19 seed Anastasija Sevastova upset third-seeded Sloane Stephens, the defending champion, 6-2, 6-3, in the quarterfinals.

With Stephens’s loss, all four of the reigning Grand Slam champions have lost at this Open. The highest remaining seed in the women’s draw is No. 8 Karolina Pliskova, who plays Serena Williams on Tuesday night.

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Anastasija Sevastova defeated Sloane Stephens in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open on Tuesday.

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Uli Seit for The New York Times

Sevastova, a 28-year-old Latvian, has reached the U.S. Open quarterfinals three years in a row. She advanced to her first Grand Slam semifinal.

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Stephens, known for her speed and fitness, struggled in the conditions, regularly complaining to her coach and at one point loudly cursing the heat and the bright sunshine.

Junior tournament is suspended

At about 1:15 p.m., the matches in the U.S. Open junior event, for players 18 and under, were suspended because of the heat.

Though the Open’s extreme heat policy applies to all singles matches, senior or junior, the junior event takes things a step further. If the wet bulb globe temperature — which factors in air temperature, humidity, wind speed, sun angle and cloud cover — exceeds 32.2 degrees Celsius, players are taken off the court.

Temperature readings will take place every half-hour, and junior matches will not resume until the reading is below 32.2 degrees Celsius. CINDY SHMERLER

Yes, it’s hot

The U.S. Open’s extreme heat policy is in effect for the fifth day of the tournament. That means for men’s singles matches, a 10-minute break will be allowed between the third and fourth sets. For women’s, boys’ and girls’ singles matches, a 10-minute break will be allowed between the second and third sets.

At 12:30 p.m., the temperature was 90 degrees Fahrenheit (about 32 degrees Celsius), with a forecast high of 92. The humidity is expected to rise through the night.

Roger Federer cited the hot and humid conditions as the reason for his poor play in his fourth-round loss to John Millman on Monday night.

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“Was just one of those nights where I guess I felt I couldn’t get air; there was no circulation at all,” Roger Federer said after his loss on Monday to the Australian veteran John Millman.

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Uli Seit for The New York Times

“Was just one of those nights where I guess I felt I couldn’t get air; there was no circulation at all,” Federer said. “I don’t know, for some reason, I just struggled in the conditions tonight. It’s one of the first times it’s happened to me.”

Monday’s highlights

• After a few days of relief, the sweltering weather returned to the U.S. Open, and it is expected to continue Tuesday.

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• John Millman pulled off the biggest upset of the men’s tournament by ousting second-seeded Roger Federer.

• Naomi Osaka reached a Grand Slam quarterfinal for the first time by winning a next-generation duel with her fellow 20-year-old Aryna Sabalenka.

• Madison Keys has efficiently burned through the women’s singles draw without drawing much attention, despite being a finalist at last year’s Open.

Daniel Gendler and Max Gendler contributed reporting.


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