New York: Serena Williams and Ekaterina Makarova sprinted into the semi-finals of the U.S. Open on Wednesday, while world number one Novak Djokovic and marathon man Kei Nishikori were forced to take the long road into the last four.
Having already played the longest match of the tournament in the fourth round, a bruising four-hour 19-minute battle with Canadian Milos Raonic, Nishikori had enough left in the tank to get past third seed Stan Wawrinka 3-6 7-5 7-6 (7) 6-7 (5) 6-4 in a four-hour 15-minute test of wills to become the first Japanese man into the last four of a grand slam in 81 years. (Also read: Coach Chang tells Nishikori to keep feet on ground)
Bidding to reach the Flushing Meadows final for a fifth straight year, Djokovic did not need five sets to tame a valiant Andy Murray 7-6 (1) 6-7 (1) 6-2 6-4 but the big Serb did have to dig deep to see off his longtime rival who was in obvious distress at the end of what had been a wildly enthralling stadium court encounter. (Also read: Expect sparks to fly in Monfils vs Federer)