Serena Williams, who lost to Sloane Stephens earlier this year, managed to top the young American 6-4, 6-1 in the U.S. Open quarterfinals in New York on Sunday.
“She’s definitely a good player, so it felt like something bigger, but I just had to stay focused for the moment,” Williams said in her courtside interview.
After a 4-4 tie in the first set, Williams took control of the match. The 16-time Grand Slam champion won eight of the last nine games.
“The whole time, I just tried to do what I wanted,” Williams said. “Stay calm, stay relaxed, stay composed.”
Stephens started out well, but gained six unforced errors when she served at 4-5, ultimately finishing the match with 29 unforced errors.
“Obviously, she’s No. 1 in the world for a reason,” Stephens said. “I thought she played really well herself. Obviously, it didn’t go how I wanted. The second set got away from me a little bit. All in all, I thought I competed well and played well. That’s all you can do, really.”
Next up for Williams is 18th-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro, who beat eighth-seeded Angelique Kerber 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (3) in the quarterfinals.