Serena Williams rolls ankle, opponent as U.S. Open challengers upset

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NEW YORK — Serena Williams‘ chances of winning a seventh U.S. Open increased before she began playing Sunday, when No. 2 seed Ash Barty was upset.

Went up again during her fourth-round match, as No. 3 Karolina Pliskova was eliminated. Then climbed even more with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over No. 22 Petra Martic to reach the quarterfinals for the 11th straight time here. A nice birthday present for daughter Olympia, who turned 2 on Sunday.

“She was in my arms by now,” in 2017, Williams remembered in an on-court interview. “I think she was born around 11:30ish. It was, like, the best day of my life.”

Williams rebounded well from a brief scare at 2-all in the second set, when she twisted her right ankle, dropped to the court and took a medical timeout to have the already wrapped ankle looked at. Williams injured her left ankle at the Australian Open in January.

“I was volleying, and it just went over,” she said. “That was a little frustrating, but I wanted to get it compressed really fast. … It affected me a little mentally because I had a rough year with injuries. I was like, oh my god, not again.”

Williams, seeded eighth and seeking a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title, is one of two women left who have won a major. The other, whom Williams would not meet until the final, is top-ranked, defending champion Naomi Osaka.

A rematch of last year’s controversial final is looking more and more likely.

Especially after Osaka played her best match in months Saturday night, sweeping 15-year-old Coco Gauff 6-3, 6-0. Especially after Barty, the French Open winner, fell to No. 18 Wang Qiang 6-2, 6-4 on Sunday. And even more so after No. 16 Jo Konta rallied past Pliskova 6-7 (1), 6-3, 7-5.

Williams gets Wang in Tuesday’s quarters. The other top-15 seed left in her half of the draw is No. 5 Elina Svitolina, who took out No. 10 Madison Keys 7-5, 6-4 on Sunday night.

First she can see Olympia, who may have noticed Sunday’s result.

“Now that she’s getting a little bit older, she’s starting to understand,” Williams said. “She sees me on TV, and she says momma. Sometimes she sees [older sister] Venus, and she says momma. But that’s OK because Venus and I share everything.”

U.S. OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women

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