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Serena Williams holds opponent to 0 winners, into U.S. Open semifinals

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NEW YORK — Has Serena Williams ever been this dominant? She held 18th seed Wang Qiang to zero winners in a 44-minute 6-1, 6-0 victory in the U.S. Open quarterfinals on Tuesday night.

Make it 100 U.S. Open match wins for Williams, who by the way had 24 winners Tuesday. She said that when she debuted here in 1998, at age 16 (and won the title the next year), she never would have imagined reaching the century mark.

“It didn’t cross my mind that I would still be out here,” she said.

Wang, who will be ranked in the top 15 after the U.S. Open, was asked afterward what surprised her the most in her first match against Williams (and her first time playing at Arthur Ashe Stadium).

“Power,” she said. “I cannot handle it. Just too much for me.”

The most important numbers: 24 (Williams is two wins from a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title) and one (Williams is looking for her first tournament title since becoming a mom).

She gets the highest seed left in the draw, No. 5 Elina Svitolina, in Thursday’s semifinals. The eighth-seeded American showed no affects from rolling her right ankle in the fourth round on Sunday.

Williams, who has made the semifinals of 10 straight U.S. Open appearances, is now one U.S. Open match win shy of Chris Evert‘s record 101. She is 100-12 all-time at Flushing Meadows.

She is also the only woman among the quarterfinalists who has Grand Slam final experience. Perhaps that will help her after losing all three of her Slam finals since returning from life-threatening childbirth last year.

“I”m definitely more ready than last year, although I thought I was playing really well last year,” Williams said. “After a small hiccup this year, I’m starting to play a little bit better.”

Svitolina, the highest-ranked woman yet to reach a Slam final, dispatched British 16th seed Jo Konta 6-4, 6-4 earlier Tuesday. Svitolina beat Williams in their last meeting at the Rio Olympics.

In men’s action Tuesday, fifth seed Daniil Medvedev became the first Russian man to make a Grand Slam semifinal since Mikhail Youzhny at the 2010 U.S. Open. Medvedev took out 2016 U.S. Open champion Stan Wawrinka 7-6 (6), 6-3, 3-6, 6-1. Medvedev gets Roger Federer or Grigor Dimitrov in the semifinals.

U.S. OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women

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World champion wins doping case citing bodily fluids from boyfriend

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — A world champion canoeist won a doping case Monday after persuading a tribunal that her positive test was caused by bodily fluid contamination from her boyfriend.

The International Canoe Federation (ICF) ended its investigation into 11-time world champion Laurence Vincent Lapointe, who tested positive for a steroid-like substance in July. She faced a four-year ban and could have missed her event’s Olympic debut at the Tokyo Games.

The Canadian canoe sprint racer and her lawyer detailed in a news program that laboratory analysis of hair from her then-boyfriend showed he was likely responsible for a tiny presence of ligandrol in her doping sample.

“The ICF has accepted Ms. Vincent Lapointe’s evidence which supports that she was the victim of third-party contamination,” the governing body said in a statement, clearing her to return to competition.

The legal debate is similar to tennis player Richard Gasquet’s 2009 acquittal in the “cocaine kiss” case. The Court of Arbitration for Sport accepted Gasquet’s defense that kissing a woman who had taken cocaine in a Miami nightclub, after he had withdrawn injured from a tournament, caused his positive test.

The 27-year-old Vincent Lapointe was provisionally suspended for almost six months and missed the 2019 World Championships, which was a key qualifying event for the Tokyo Olympics. American 17-year-old Nevin Harrison won the 200m world title in her absence.

She can still qualify for the Olympic debut of women’s canoe sprint events with victory at a World Cup event in May in Germany.

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U.S. women’s soccer team begins Olympic qualifying, which should rest on one match

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The U.S. women’s soccer team has never been in danger in Olympic qualifying, but that doesn’t change this fact: It must win on Feb. 7 to reach the Tokyo Games.

The CONCACAF tournament begins Tuesday in Houston, where the world champion Americans face world No. 72 Haiti. The last two group games are against No. 68 Panama on Friday and No. 37 Costa Rica on Feb. 3. The top two nations from the group advance to Feb. 7 semifinals.

The U.S. roster, with 18 of its 20 players coming from the 2019 World Cup team, is here.

Since CONCACAF qualifies two nations to the Olympics, the semifinals are the deciding games.

Should the U.S. win its group, it would face the runner-up from the other group in a winner-goes-to-Tokyo match. The other group (world ranking):

Canada (8)
Mexico (37)
Jamaica (53)
St. Kitts and Nevis (127)

Chaos could result in the unlikely event that either the U.S. or Canada finishes second in its group, and the two North American powers play a semifinal.

The U.S. is undefeated in Olympic qualifying history, since the tournament format began in 2004 — 15-0 with a goal differential of 88-1 (not counting matches played once they’ve already clinched qualification). The lone goal allowed came in a group-stage match in 2008, when the U.S. was already assured a spot in the semifinals.

Still, the U.S. knows the feeling of one poor outing in an important match. In 2010, it lost to Mexico in a winner-to-the-World Cup match. The U.S. was forced to win a last-chance, home-and-home playoff against a UEFA team — Italy — for the last spot in the World Cup.

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