Venus Williams is back in a Grand Slam semifinal. The year will end without an American man being able to make the same claim.
Stanislas Wawrinka beat Sam Querrey in five sets yesterday to put two Swiss men in a major quarter-final for the first time in the Open era — and keep the Americans out of that round in the U.S. Open for the second straight year.
After waiting out that nearly four-hour match, Williams defeated French Open champion Francesca Schiavone 7-6 (5), 6-4. It’s her first Grand Slam semifinal since last year’s Wimbledon.
Wawrinka won 7-6 (9), 6-7 (5), 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 to join a countryman whose presence this deep in a major tournament is just assumed: Roger Federer. Not so for Wawrinka. The 25-year-old had been 0-5 in the round of 16 at Grand Slams.
“Roger, he’s always in quarter-finals since many years, so that’s not something different,” Wawrinka said. “But for me, it’s my first time, so it’s something important for my career.”
The U.S. men, meanwhile, had at least one quarter-finalist at their home major each of the first 41 years of the Open era. That changed in 2009, and now it’s happened again. This year goes down as the worst for American men in Grand Slam events. They had only one quarter-finalist at the four major tournaments: Andy Roddick at the Australian Open.
“Yeah, you think about it,” Querrey said when asked by a reporter about the U.S. drought. “I definitely wanted to win and keep the American men, keep the hope going.”
Williams, seeded third, and the sixth-seeded Schiavone struggled to hold serve: There were nine breaks in 23 games. Williams failed to serve out the match in the second set, then proceeded to break the Italian to clinch the victory.
“It’s not easy to play in these conditions,” Williams said. “It’s hard to know what decisions to make.”
Next up for Williams is a semifinal against defending champion Kim Clijsters, who beat Sam Stosur 6-4, 5-7, 6-3.
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