US Open: Williams, Nishikori & Makarova reach semi-finals

Serena Williams
Serena Williams is bidding for a hat-trick of US Open titles having won at Flushing Meadows in 2012 and 2013
US Open, Flushing Meadows, New York
Dates: 25 August-8 September Coverage: Live radio and text commentary on Andy Murray's matches, plus commentary every day from 18:00 or 18:30 BST on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

Five-time US Open champion Serena Williams roared into the semi-finals of this year's tournament with a 6-3 6-2 win over 11th seed Flavia Pennetta.

In the men's draw, Kei Nishikori defeated third seed Stan Wawrinka in a five-set thriller to make a Grand Slam last four for the first time.

The Japanese 10th seed came through his second successive four-hour match to win 3-6 7-5 7-6 (9-7) 6-7 (5-7) 6-4.

"I don't know how I finished the match," said Nishikori.

Russia's Ekaterina Makarova also made it into her first ever Grand Slam semi-final - beating two-time finalist Victoria Azarenka 6-4 6-2 in New York.

Ekaterina Makarova
Ekaterina Makarova had lost in her previous four Grand Slam appearances

Top seed and defending champion Williams lost the first three games of her match on Arthur Ashe - but then slipped into gear to win in just 63 minutes.

Williams said she "had a lot of fun" and is one of only two top-10 seeded players left in the tournament.

"I've had a tough year in the majors," added Williams. "I've gone down to some great players outside of the top 10 so you can never underestimate anyone. We're all fighting really hard and we all deserve to be here."

Kei Nishikori
Kei Nishikori's five-set win over Stan Wawrinka was only four minutes shorter than his last-16 victory over Milos Raonic

Nishikori had beaten Milos Raonic in the fourth round in five sets in a match that finished at 2.26am - the joint latest finish in US Open history.

Back on court barely 36 hours later, he became the first Japanese man in the Open era to reach a Grand Slam semi-final after an epic four hours and 15 minute encounter with the Australian Open champion.

Nishikori said: "I started a little bit tight but my body was okay, I was feeling more and more confident, especially getting the third set.

"I feel amazing. I hope I can recover again and play 100 per cent tennis next round."

Stan Wawrinka
A frustrated Wawrinka committed 78 errors and managed to convert just two of 10 break point opportunities

Wawrinka's game was riddled with 78 errors. "I was ready for the fight. I was ready to play," he said. "I'm a little bit disappointed with myself, with the level I had today. I don't think I played a great match. I think I was a little bit hesitant with my game."

Azarenka, 25, runner-up for the past two years, was not at her best in losing to 17th seed Makarova and received a warning after smashing her racquet.

Makarova was in a Grand Slam quarter-final for the fifth time. "It's a great feeling," she said afterwards.

The 26-year-old faces Williams in the semi-final.

"I feel amazing," said Makarova. "Finally I'm in a semi-final. I've had five chances but now I'm in a semi-final and it's a great feeling."

Victoria Azarenka
Victoria Azarenka smashed her racquet during the second set of her loss to Ekaterina Makarova

Azarenka's representative revealed after the match the player had suffered with food poisoning the day before.

The Belarusian confirmed that she had not practised on Tuesday, but added: "I don't really want to talk about it. I just want to give credit to my opponent. She played really well today.

"Am I disappointed? Yes, I'm disappointed. But I feel like I tried my best with whatever I had. But I just want to wish her good luck. That's it. I'm out of the tournament."

Arthur Ashe Stadium

Women's singles quarter-finals

Ekaterina Makarova (Rus) (17) beat Victoria Azarenka (Blr) (16) 6-4 6-2

Serena Williams (USA) (1) beat Flavia Pennetta (Ita) (11) 6-3 6-2

Williams on Pennetta's fast start: "I felt she was playing really well, I don't feel I was doing too much wrong (in the first three games). I just said to myself that if she keeps it up then she absolutely deserves the win and I just tried to do a little better."

Pennetta: "From the beginning of the tournament, if you ask me the first day to get in the quarter-final, have the chance to play Serena, yeah, to get in the semi for me was a dream."

Men's singles quarter-finals

Kei Nishikori (Jpn) (10) beat Stan Wawrinka (Swi) (3) 3-6 7-5 7-6(9-7) 6-7(5-7) 6-4

Novak Djokovic (Ser) (1) beat Andy Murray (GBR) (8) 7-6 (7-1) 6-7 (1-7) 6-2 6-4

Full report here

Results in full

Stats of the day
Stan Wawrinka made 78 unforced errors as he lost to Kei Nishikori in five sets
The match lasted 4hrs 19mins, making it the fourth-longest of the tournament
Nishikori was also involved in the longest against Milos Raonic - he has spent 8hrs 34mins on court in his last two matches

Britwatch

Ross Hutchins and his playing partner, Taiwan's Yung-Jan Chan, lost their mixed doubles semi-final 7-5 4-6 10-7 to top seeds Sania Mirza of India and Brazilian Bruno Soares. Full report here.

Katie Swan
Great Britain's Katie Swan lost in the girls' singles but won in the girls' doubles

Katie Swan lost to the ninth-seeded Ukranian Anhelina Kalinina 6-3 6-2 in round two of the junior girls' singles.

In the junior girls' doubles, 17-year-old Isabelle Wallace and her Romanian playing partner Ioana Loredana Rosca lost a match tie-break to go down 6-2 1-6 11-13 to fourth seeds Jelena Ostapenko (Lat) and Olga Fridman (Ukr) in round two.

But British compatriot Maia Lumsden did make it through to the third round of the junior girls' doubles with her playing partner Fanni Stollar (Hun). They upset Russian eighth seeds Anna Kalinskaya and Evgeniya Levashova 6-3 7-6 (7-4).

And British duo Freya Christie and Swan triumphed in the same category 7-6 (10-8) 6-4 against second seeds Anhelina Kalinina (Ukr) and Iryna Shymanovich (Blr).

Quotes of the day

Ekaterina Makarova looks like Steffi Graf and her name is sung to the Hey Macarena tune. Asked who knows her better, her boyfriend or her tennis coach - Makarova replied, smiling: "I think my coach. I spend more time with my coach than with my family."

"I'm already tired thinking of Davis Cup." Stan Wawrinka is not quite ready to get 'pumped' for Switzerland's semi-final against Italy.

"Guys, I'm not going to make excuses for myself. You can ask me 20 times the same question. I'm not going to make any excuses today." Victoria Azarenka

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