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Serena Williams Beats Petra Martic Despite Injury Scare; Advances to US Open QF

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistSeptember 1, 2019

Serena Williams, of the United States, reacts during her match against Petra Martic, of Croatia, during round four of the US Open tennis championships Sunday, Sept. 1, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Sarah Stier)
Sarah Stier/Associated Press

Serena Williams advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2019 U.S. Open after defeating Petra Martic in straight sets 6-3, 6-4.

Williams rolled her ankle in the second set and required a brief medical timeout in order to have the ankle re-taped.

Christopher Clarey @christophclarey

Serena rollls her right ankle at 2-2 on an acrobatic volley in the second set vs Martic, looks dejected and then plays two great points to break. Trainer out now on the changeover

She now has 52 quarterfinal appearances in Grand Slam tournaments, the third-most for a female player in the Open Era, per ESPN.

Williams had another reason to celebrate as her daughter, Alexis Olympia, turned two Sunday.

espnW @espnW

Hearing @SerenaWilliams talk about her daughter will make your day ❤️ Two years ago today, Serena gave birth to her daughter Alexis Olympia. Today she advances to her 16th quarterfinal at the #USOpen https://t.co/uuxeRfatO5

Williams and Martic went back and forth to start the match, with the two players holding serve in each of the first seven games. Serena earned a break in the eighth game to go up 5-3. She secured the opening set with an expertly placed forehand drop shot.

US Open Tennis @usopen

Serena Smooth 😎 Williams claims the first set 6-3 against Martic on Ashe. #USOpen https://t.co/6qUeRTbocX

The second set was basically a repeat of the first. Martic did well to hold off Williams while on serve but couldn't make a dent with her return game. A break in the fifth game was the opening Serena needed to seal the win and move on.

The ankle injury provided a bit of drama as Williams briefly remained seated on the court. The same injury—albeit to the opposite ankle—preceded her quarterfinal exit to Karolina Pliskova in the 2019 Australian Open.

Upon receiving treatment, though, her performance level didn't drop.

According to the U.S. Open's official site, Williams had a 38-11 edge in winners and covered 387 fewer feet than Martic over the course of the match. She set the tone from the baseline and used her first serve (30-of-38 points won) to keep the 28-year-old Croat on the defensive.

Williams will meet Qiang Wang in the quarterfinals. The two have never faced off at a WTA event. 

Wang upset second-seeded Ashleigh Barty 6-2, 6-4 in the fourth round.

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