Serena Williams admits she can’t get enough after joining the US Open’s exclusive 100-club while marching towards a record-equalling 24th grand slam singles crown.
In the quickest match of the year, Williams clubbed 25 winners to Qiang Wang’s none in a 6-1 6-0 quarter-final demolition job on the Chinese No.1 – joining fellow American Chris Evert as only the second woman to post a century of victories in New York.
“It’s really unbelievable, literally, because from when I first started here, I think I was 16, I never thought I’d get to 100,” Williams, who won the first of her six Open titles in 1999, said after the 44-minute cameo.
“It never even crossed my mind or I would still be out here.
“But I love what I do. Love coming out in front of you guys, it’s so special. It is. I never want to let it go.”
Turning 38 in two weeks, Williams will play Elina Svitolina in Thursday’s semi-finals after the world No.5 reached the last four for the second grand slam in a row with a 6-4 6-4 win over Brit Johanna Konta.
If she beats Svitolina, Williams is assured of playing a first-time grand slam finalist for the title.
But after losing to Simona Halep and Angelique Kerber in the past two Wimbledon finals and to Noami Osaka last year in the championship decider at Flushing Meadows, Williams said she’d learnt not to be complacent no matter who she faced.
“Going in I’ve got to be ready for anything and everything,” Williams said in her obsessive pursuit of Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 majors that the Australian has held since 1973.
Williams had rolled her ankle during her fourth-round win, but it wasn’t an issue on Tuesday night on Arthur Ashe Stadium as she took the first five games in 15 minutes against Ashleigh Barty’s round of 16 slayer.
Wang finally got on the board, before Williams stepped on the pedal to reel off the last seven games to storm into her 38th grand slam semi-final – and 13th in New York.
“Physically, I’m feeling great,” Williams said.
Earlier, with boyfriend Gael Monfils watching in the stands, a day before he plays his men’s quarter-final against Matteo Berrettini, Svitolina advanced to the final four for the first time at Flushing Meadows.
“It feels amazing,” the 24-year-old Ukranian said.
Svitolina has lost four of her five career meetings with Williams, but will garner belief from having beaten the legend last up at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
“It was unbelievable atmosphere. I played actually a great match,” said the 2018 season-ending champion.
“I didn’t have big wins at that time… It gave me the confidence to actually let me believe that I can play consistent against the top players.
“It was a very special moment.”
In Wednesday’s remaining quarter-finals, Belinda Bencic plays Donna Vekic and Bianca Andreescu meets Elise Mertens.
Earlier, Daniil Medvedev saved a set point in the opening tiebreaker and twice needed extensive treatment on his legs before seeing off Swiss veteran Stan Wawrinka 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 3-6 6-1 in two hours and 34 minutes.