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US OPEN Day 9 Recap: Serena overcomes Venus to reach the semi-finals

Serena Williams continued her pursuit of the calendar grand slam achievement with a battling win over her sister Venus, whilst Novak Djokovic, Roberta Vinci and Marin Cilic went through to the semi-finals.

The ninth day of the tournament saw Serena Williams face her sister Venus in an intriguing clash for a place in the semi-finals. In the early exchanges, the world number one dominated and broke twice en route to clinching the first set. However, Venus fought back in the second set, and capitalised on a double fault from Serena to gain the lead. The world number one appeared rattled by the switch of momentum, as Venus sealed another break and held her nerve to force a decider. In the third set, Venus was growing in confidence as she was beginning to apply more pressure, but Serena just managed to hold onto her serve. The resistance from the world number one was eventually rewarded when she raised her level to establish an early break, and despite the best efforts from Venus to retrieve the deficit, Serena held on to complete a hard-fought 6-2 1-6 6-3 win.

The world number one will play Roberta Vinci in the semi-finals, after the Italian edged past Kristina Mladenovic 6-3 5-7 6-4.

On the men’s side, Marin Cilic continued the defence of his title with a quarterfinal showdown against Jo Wilfried Tsonga. In the first set, Cilic was forced to save a few break points, but the Croat ruthlessly punished the Frenchman for his inability to capitalise on them, as Cilic produced a timely break of serve to emphatically close out the first set. The second set saw the defending champion continue to frustrate Tsonga, as the Frenchman was unable to get a foothold into his opponent’s service games. The pressure from Cilic was finally rewarded when Tsonga surrendered his serve with a double fault, and the Croat maintained his lead to seal the second set.

In the third set, Tsonga was able to hold his serve comfortably early on and at 4-3, the Frenchman was growing in confidence, as he started to fashion opportunities on his opponent’s serve. This time, Cilic caved in, and Tsonga consolidated the break to clinch the set with a booming ace.

The fourth set saw both players hold their service games without too much problems, even though Tsonga pressed for the break of serve. However, at 5-4 and 6-5, Tsonga dug deep with some sensational tennis to save match points, and eventually took the set to a tie-break. In the tie-break, the Frenchman opened up a commanding lead and another huge serve ensured that the match would go to a fifth set.

In the decider, both players had opportunities to gain the lead but it was Cilic who finally capitalised on his chance, and he established the break when Tsonga placed a forehand wide. Even though the Frenchman forced Cilic to serve for the match in what was nervy game, the defending champion stood firm to finally claim a 6-4 6-4 3-6 6-7 6-4 victory.

Cilic will play Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals, after the Serbian overcame Feliciano Lopez 6-1 3-6 6-3 7-6.

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