Veteran Williams, 37, wins 6-3 3-6 7-6 in an epic struggle with Czech star back to her best after horrific knife attack
Williams’ win in a stone-cold classic of a match puts her one win away from contesting the final at the age of 37 – 20 years after her first appearance in the climax of the women’s singles.
Venus Williams celebrates her historic win over Petra Kvitova yesterday
Venus Williams rolled back the years to move into the semi finals of the US Open.
Petra Kvitova has made an incredible comeback from an horrific knife attack but fell just short in an incredible match.
Backed by a passionate home crowd, Williams – who is the oldest player ever to make the last four of the US Open – kept the host nation on course to provide all four semi finalists by winning a simply sensational contest.
Williams told the fans: “I felt every single one of you behind me, all 23,000.
“It feels amazing and I didn’t want to let you guys down.”
She also paid tribute to Kvitova, who is back to her best less than nine months after suffering career-threatening injuries to her dominant left hand in an horrific knife attack and burglary at her home,
Williams said: “What she has gone through is unbelievable. It’s so wonderful to see her back and playing amazing.
“I was fortunate to win that match. It went to the wire. I hope we have more matches like that.”
Williams came from a break down in a seesaw deciding set to win 6-3 3-6 7-6
Kvitova went toe-to-toe with Williams in an incredible display of power-hitting but was overwhelmed in the deciding tie-break
Kvitova achieved the first break of serve, but then lost her way and five games in a row to concede the first set in just 33 minutes.
The Czech responded well, though, breaking the Williams serve again early in the second and saving break points against herself, often accompanied by loud screams of “Pojd’!” – Czech for “Come on!”
And when the time came to serve it out, she did so with confidence to take the match into a decider, which was a classic all on its own.
When Kvitova moved ahead and emphatically saved three break points from 0/40 down in the fourth game, victory seemed hers for the taking. Even more so when she had a point for a 4-2 lead.
But Williams dug deep, broke back thanks to a double fault and then held serve in a titanic ninth game.
A superb match deserved a climactic tie-break, but Williams was just too strong, taking it 7-2 and breaking into a huge smile.
Williams will play fellow American Sloane Stephens in tomorrow’s semi finals, following Stephens’ 6-3 3-6 7-6 win over Anastasija Sevastova.
Stephens made her comeback from a foot injury only at Wimbledon and was ranked world No 957 at the end of July.
Sevastova had knocked out Maria Sharapova in the previous round and twice led by a break in the decider.
But Stephens fought back to reach the second Grand Slam semi final of her career. Coco Vandeweghe and Madison Keys will attempt to complete a full house of American women in the last four when they take on world No 1 Karolina Pliskova and Kaia Kanepi respectively.
Stephens’ amazing comeback from injury has now taken her into the semi finals of her home Grand Slam.