'Unreturnable': Mom Serena Williams is building steam at US Open

Serena Williams survived her first test of the US Open to reach the quarter-finals in NY for the 15th time. He was agonizingly close to getting there previous year at the U.S. Open, leading by two sets against Juan Martin del Potro in the round of 16 before the 2009 champion roared back to win.

Williams, the six-time USA champion and No. 17 seed, beat Kaia Kanepi of Estonia, 6-0, 4-6, 6-3 to advance to the quarterfinals, where she will face No. 8 Karolina Pliskova on Tuesday.

But this one wasn't expected to be so easy, not with Serena still working her way back into form after returning to the tour in the spring.

Defending champion Sloane Stephens returned to the U.S. Open quarterfinals with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over No. 15 seed Elise Mertens of Belgium.

"Fortunately, I don't really feel pressure because I'm on this journey of getting back to where I was and I'm kind of enjoying that to be honest". In the 18-minute shutout of the first set, Kanepi's strokes were off and Williams' were pretty much ideal as she grabbed 24 of 30 points.

36, was preparing for her fourth round against Estonia's veteran Kaia Kanepi, who upset top seed Simona Halep in the first round.

"Winning a big game and a very important game and a really tight game, I think it was just a relief", said Williams, who took control with a break in the next game and maintained that advantage until she fired a forehand victor on her first match point.

The Estonian missed two break points in the first game of the third set, allowing Williams to fight back and hold serve with a backhand victor, which brought out a loud yell of "come on" from her.

In the third set, Serena raced to 3-0 lead, to make her uncatchable by her Estonian opponent.

"It'll be wonderful to win a grand slam while having a daughter but it's a lot of work".

The determination to come home strongly was evident from Williams, who let out a roar after ripping a backhand cross court to hold serve in the opening game of the deciding set.

The Ukrainian said: "I was really dizzy and I asked nature or God or somebody, "please move the shade over faster".

Kanepi, a former World No.15 who reached the US Open quarterfinals in 2010 and previous year, fired 22 winners to 18 unforced errors in the match. So that's why I won, because I believed I had a chance.

"I think it's the best match she's ever played against me", Venus said.

One year after four American women - none of them named Sarena - closed out the semifinals, it's possible three American ladies could reach this year's semis. I have watched her a great deal since then. "I'm just going to try to keep building on that and keep going". "Well, I saw Steffi (Graf), too".

  • Stacy Allen