Only the other day, Andy Murray made a big media splash by recording 500 wins in his ATP career and just a day after, Serena Williams also reached a similar milestone. The only difference was that it was victory no. 700 in WTA tournaments for the celebrated American, when she punched her semifinal ticket by beating Germany’s Sabine Lisicki. On Thursday night, the world no.1 will meet no.3 seed Romania’s Simona Halep, who defeated USA’s Sloane Stephens in the other quarterfinal. Among men, Andy Murray and Tomas Berdych won their quarterfinal matches to set up a clash with each other for a place in the final. In men’s doubles, USA’s Bryan brothers advanced to semifinals and they will meet compatriots John Isner/Sam Querrey next.
Serena Williams reached another milestone in her illustrious career, when she beat Germany’s Sabine Lisicki. The 700th in WTA events did not come without efforts as the world no.1 was seriously challenged by the German woman before coming through at 7-6, 1-6, 6-3. After Andy Murray recorded his 500th triumph, Serena’s 700th win was also celebrated with a cake. Among women, Serena is the eighth player of the 700-plus club, which is led by the legendary Martina Navratilova with 1,442 career victories. However, Lisicki gave Serena a hard time and held a set point in the opening set. But the champion fought off to take the set to the tiebreaker. Even after taking the set, Serena slipped again in second set to lose 1-6 despite breaking Lisicki early. The German took the next 6 games as Serena’s unforced error-count mounted. In the third set, Serena regained her composure and broke Lisicki early and then played a powerful game to reach the coveted milestone. For a place in the final, Serena will take on the familiar foe, Simona Halep of Romania. Halep dominated Sloane Stephens and raced to a 6-1, 3-0 lead before the American tried a comeback by reeling off 5 out of 6 second set points to lead 5-4. But Halep held her nerves to take the last two points to finish a 6-1, 7-5 winner.
Among men, Andy Murray took on Austria’s Dominic Thiem and lost the first set 3-6. However, the Briton stages a marvelous comeback by taking the next two sets 6-4, 6-1 to seal his place in the semifinal, where he will meet the Czech Tomas Berdych. The 21-year old Thiem used his impressive backhand to wear down Murray in the first set before Murray bounced back into the match. The Murray-Berdych duel will be a repeat of their 4-set acrimonious Australian Open semi-final duel, which Murray had won. In contrast to Murray’s tense win, eighth seeded Berdych had an easier passage in the semifinal. The Czech didn’t have any issues against Argentina’s Juan Monaco, whom he beat 6-3 6-4 in the other quarter-final. Monaco was backed up by a large Argentine support but despite a strong second set fight, lost to the experienced Berdych.
In men’s doubles quarterfinals, no.1 seeds Bob and Mike Bryan had a hard time against South African Kevin Anderson and Frenchman Jeremy Chardy. The brothers won the first set 6-4 but lost the second 4-6. Anderson/Chardy combined well and forced 7 break points against the Bryans but the brothers saved 5 of them. The South African/French pair also sent down 9 aces but the Bryans prevailed in the match tiebreak to win at 6-4, 4-6, 10-6. For a place in the final, the Bryans will have to get past compatriots John Isner and Sam Querrey, who had an easy 6-3, 6-4 under one-hour victory against Dutchman Jean-Julien Rojer and Romanian Horia Tecau.
In women’s doubles, Czech pair of Andrea Hlavackova/Lucie Hradecka beat Romanian/Russian combo of Monica Niculescu/Alexandra Panova 6-3, 7-5 to set up a semifinal clash with Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina. The no.2 seeds Russians moved into the semifinal with a 6-4, 3-6, 10-4 victory over Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia and Slovenian Katarina Srebotnik.
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