Serena Williams returns a shot against Qiang Wang. Picture: Elsa/Getty Images/AFP
Serena Williams returns a shot against Qiang Wang. Picture: Elsa/Getty Images/AFP

‘Unbelievable’: Serena enters 100-club

SERENA Williams will be feeling closer than ever to a record-equalling 24th grand slam title after her 6-1 6-0 thrashing of China's Wang Qiang in the US Open quarter-finals.

Williams emphatically dismissed the 18th seed, who was made to look second-rate after knocking Australia's Ash Barty in the round of 16.

Williams barely broke a sweat in the 44-minute rout - tied for the shortest match on the WTA tour in 2019 - and if there was a mercy rule in tennis it surely would have been enforced.

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She won the winner count 25-0 as Wang only managed to win 15 points in the entire match.

It was the American's 100th win at her home slam. She can tie Chris Evert's record by going one step further this week. Martina Navratiloval (120 wins at Wimbledon) and Roger Federer (101 wins at Wimbledon) are the only other players to crack a century of victories at a single major.

"It's unbelievable. Literally," Williams said. "From when I started here when I was 16 I never thought I would get to 100. It never crossed my mind."

Fans were in awe after she allayed concerns about an ankle injury that caused concern earlier in the tournament.

Williams will meet Elina Svitolina in the semis after the Ukrainian booked her spot earlier in the day. She owns a 4-1 head-to-head record against the fifth seed, but Svitolina won their most recent match at the 2016 Olympics.

Svitolina reached her second consecutive major semi-final with a 6-4 6-4 victory over Johanna Konta.

Elina Svitolina celebrates. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Elina Svitolina celebrates. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Her boyfriend, men's No 13 seed Gael Monfils, sat in the stands, The 33-year-old Frenchman is also alive in the tournament, advancing to the quarter-finals with a 6-1 6-2 6-2 victory over Pablo Andujar on Tuesday (AEST).

Monfils was stoic throughout Svitolina's match - quite opposite his flamboyant, high-energy style of play. Svitolina won several points that yielded an ovation from her team and the crowd alike.

Monfils would merely clap quietly, calmly awaiting the next point. "He's very different after (he plays) matches," Svitolina said on ESPN's broadcast. "I was surprised, too."

Gael Monfils (right). (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Gael Monfils (right). (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

The couple is the first to simultaneously reach the quarterfinals of the US Open in at least a decade. The closest were Stan Wawrinka and Donna Vekic, who both qualified for the tournament in 2018. Wawrinka lasted until the third round while Vekic was knocked out in the first. "We (are having) a great run so far," Monfils said on an earlier broadcast.

Wawrinka and Vekic ended their relationship earlier this year. Wawrinka lost in the quarterfinals to Daniil Medvedev, while Vekic plays in the women's quarters on Thursday.

Monfils will play on Thursday too, when he takes on No. 24 Matteo Berrettini. Monfils looks to return to the semi-finals at Arthur Ashe Stadium, which he made in 2016. He lost to Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-2.

"Definitely we are pushing each other, I think, because we are trying to join each other in the (next round). Now he needs to step his game up," Svitolina said with a laugh after her match.