By Amy Tennery
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Serena Williams claimed her 100th win at the U.S. Open in style on Tuesday, dismantling her quarter-final opponent Wang Qiang 6-1 6-0 in a blistering 44-minute performance that ended any questions over a twisted ankle from the previous round.
“I never thought that I would get to 100,” Williams said after the match, reflecting on the two decades she’s spent playing at Flushing Meadows. “It’s so special. I never want to let it go.”
The eighth-seeded American joins Chris Evert as the only two players to log at least 100 victories at the tournament. Williams is now only one behind Evert’s mark.
The 37-year-old Williams was dominant from the start, firing off 25 winners, compared to zero from 18th-seed Wang, and winning 90% of her first serve points.
During her fourth-round match on Sunday, Williams slipped and fell while running to the net and twisted her right ankle but said on Tuesday she was feeling “great”.
“It feels good,” Williams said of her performance. “This is how hard I’ve been working. It feels like … hard work pays off when that happens.”
Williams pumped her fist in celebration after firing off a forehand winner in front of a roaring crowd to end the contest.
“I am who I am. I’ve always been the person that goes out there and roars and screams and complains and cries and fights,” Williams said.
“I’m extremely passionate about what I do. Most people that love their jobs are passionate about what they do. That’s just me.”
She also praised the progress made in women’s tennis over her career, calling it the “premier sport for women”.
“It’s the best work in the world that a woman can do, in my mind. I’m a little biased obviously,” said the 37-year-old.
“I feel like we fought so hard for so many years for so many different things. I feel like we still obviously have a ways to go, but a lot of that fighting through decades has come through.”
Wang, who had not faced Williams before, was unable to save any of the five break point opportunities against her and said she simply could not stand up to the power from the 23-times Grand Slam champion.
“I cannot handle it. Just too much for me,” said Wang.
Williams faces fifth-seed Elina Svitolina, who she leads 4-1 in head-to-head, in the semi-finals.
“She doesn’t make a lot of mistakes,” said Williams when asked about the upcoming matchup. “She’s one of those players that does everything really well.
“So I have to do everything well, too.”
(Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by Greg Stutchbury/Peter Rutherford)