Both Victoria Azarenka and Dominic Thiem made quick work of their opponents in their respective quarterfinal matches inside Arthur Ashe Stadium on Wednesday night to advance to the semifinals.
Azarenka was up first and dismantled the 16th seed Elise Mertens 6-1, 6-0 in one hour and 13 minutes, ripping 21 winners to just 11 unforced errors to reach the final four in Queens for the first time since 2013.
“I felt today I really executed the game very precisely,” said Azarenka. “I was moving really well. I saw the ball very long. It was long on my racquet. I saw it where I needed to see it. So I felt I played well. I found all the right answers to everything she was trying to make today and more, so I’m very happy with that today.”
Awaiting Azarenka in the semifinals is Serena Williams, who had to come back from a set down to beat Tsvetana Pironkova 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 earlier in the day.
“I love playing against Serena. I think we had one of the best matches—at least that I played in my career—against her,” said Azarenka. “We always played on big stages. It was a lot of big fights. She’s one of the players who push me to the limit, who makes me better. I’m excited for that. It’s been a while since we played…It’s going to be a different fight. I’m looking forward to it.”
In the night’s second match, Thiem delivered a clinical performance over 21st seed Alex de Minaur 6-1, 6-2, 6-4. Thiem ripped 43 winners and took advantage of 25 unforced errors from the Aussie to reach his first ever U.S. Open semifinal.
“I had a great feeling from the first moment on,” said Thiem, who is the first man from his native Austria to reach the semifinals in Queens. “It looks way easier on the scoresheet than it was.”
For a spot in the finals, the second-seeded Thiem will meet third-seed Daniil Medvedev, who earlier in the day defeated his compatriot Andrey Rublev 7-6(6), 6-3, 7-6(5).
Of the last four players remaining in the men’s singles draw, Thiem is the one with the most Grand Slam success in his career, but that won’t change his mindset heading into a tough matchup against last year’s finalist.
“There is no Roger, Rafa or Novak, but there is Daniil, Sascha [Zverev] and Pablo [Carreno Busta],” he said. “They are three amazing players. Every single one of us deserves his first major title. Everyone will give it all and that’s what’s on the mind. Once we step on the court, the other three are forgotten anyway.”
The women’s semifinals get underway on Thursday, while the men will return to action on Friday.