As players walk out of the the tunnel and into Arthur Ashe Stadium, they are greeted by a plaque adorned with four famous words uttered by Billie Jean King - "Pressure is a privilege".

Of all the greats to have graced the sport of tennis, no player has embraced that motto more than Serena Williams.

At her most dangerous with her back against the wall, Williams' major-trophy laden career has been defined by the American's ability to thrive when the match situation appears most dire, to ratchet up the intensity and summon her very best when it is most needed.

However, standing between her and a record-tying 24th grand slam title in the US Open final is a teenager who may be her heir apparent in that regard.

Bianca Andreescu only has eight major match wins to her name, six of them coming in this year's event at Flushing Meadows. She was not even born when Williams appeared in her first slam final.

The contrast between the two finalists could not be more stark. Yet, when it comes to on-court intensity, there is a strong argument that Andreescu is already the 37-year-old's equal.

If she continues to produce turnarounds akin to her second-set comeback in the semi-final with Belinda Bencic, the Canadian will soon have a similar reputation for excelling in the moments the vast majority shrink under.

Aptly described as a "warrior and a street fighter" by her coach Sylvain Bruneau on Friday, at the age of 19 Andreescu is a wonderfully entertaining player to watch.

She is blessed with great power and brings tremendous variety to her game, but it is what she does after and in-between points that makes so mesmeric.

Andreescu lives and breathes for every point. In each game she seems to fight with her own internal sense of frustation and it is a surprise when a point she wins is not greeted by a vociferous "Yes! C'mon!" or by her barking at her support team.

Comfort is not a word that naturally comes to mind when watching Andreescu. However, she seems most at ease when in need of a fightback, so being break-point down is viewed more as an opportunity rather than a problem.

Trailing 5-2 in the second against Bencic, having won the first on a tie-break, there was never any thought of her easing off and saving energy for a decider. Andreescu attacked, Bencic got tight and any confidence the Swiss had built up ebbed away as she lost five straight games and handed the match to the main-draw debutant.

"I think when I'm down, I play my best tennis. Whenever my back is against the wall, I think I'm just extra focused in those moments," Andreescu told a news conference.

"I remember I told myself at 5-2 that I didn't want to go in three sets. So I think just that switched my mindset. I was just really, really focused.

"It's [fearlessness] just inside of me somehow. I think it's just my passion for the game, as well. I don't like to lose, so I just try my best every match. I expect a lot from myself, so I think that pressure also helps me do my best in matches."

Andreescu's belief has grown throughout a stunning year. Having failed to qualify for the US Open last year, her 2019 has encompassed a final in Auckland and titles at Indian Wells and the Rogers Cup, where an ailing Williams retired four games into the final.

The desire to win at Flushing Meadows, however, has been there for a long time.

"When I was 16, after I won the Orange Bowl title, I remember I wrote myself a cheque of this tournament, winning the tournament obviously," said Andreescu. "Ever since that moment, I just kept visualising that.

"If that can happen on Saturday, then that would be pretty cool."

She will be able to cash a cheque for $3.85million should she prevail on Saturday. To do so, Andreescu will need to overcome the greatest player of all time, with Williams chasing history in front of her home crowd at the world's biggest tennis stadium.

A monumental challenge, but one Andreescu will unquestionably show no fear in facing.

Serena Williams will play her 10th US Open final on Saturday - 20 years on from her first.

The 37-year-old is set to step out at Arthur Ashe Stadium in pursuit of her 24th grand slam title and yet more history.

Williams is now established as one of the greatest athletes of all time, but how did she and the women's tennis world look in September 1999?

We take a step back in time.


SERENA'S EARLY STRIDES

Williams entered the 1999 US Open as a 17-year-old, but she had already played four WTA Tour finals and was the seventh seed.

Victory over Steffi Graf in the Indian Wells title match had shown just what she could do on the big stage, and she had a whole host of victories over top-10 players to her name by the time she arrived at Flushing Meadows for what was her seventh major.

Williams defeated world number one Martina Hingis three times in 1999, with the third and final victory securing her landmark title in New York.

An incredible run had seen her already beat Conchita Martinez, Monica Seles and defending champion Lindsay Davenport.


THE WILLIAMS DYNASTY

The Williams name was well known on the tour by the time Serena started to really make waves, as sister Venus, two years her senior, had reached the US Open final in the 1997 season.

That was a first tour-level final of any sort for Venus and she was thrashed by Hingis. But Venus won the Miami Open in consecutive years - beating Serena in the 1999 final - and triumphed at the Internazionali d'Italia before heading to the US Open.

Venus was made to wait until Wimbledon in 2000 to taste grand slam victory, however, losing to Hingis in the 1999 Flushing Meadows semis as Serena celebrated a first triumph.

Yet the dominant Williams doubles team had already been established, with victory at the French Open and another in New York.


SEIZING THE POWER

Just as is common in 2019, the major titles were evenly distributed on the WTA Tour in 1999. Hingis won in Melbourne, Graf triumphed at the French Open and then Davenport came out on top at Wimbledon.

Davenport had been the title holder at the US Open, too, until Serena triumphed.

But the arrival of the Williams sisters signalled the end of dominant times for Hingis, Graf and Davenport. The latter claimed her final grand slam title at the 2000 Australian Open, but Hingis did not win a singles major again after Serena's breakthrough. Graf retired just weeks before the 1999 US Open.

Hingis still topped the rankings at the end of 1999, but Venus was third and Serena fourth. And this was still months before Bianca Andreescu, Saturday's opponent for Serena in New York, was even born.

'Think different'.

In 1997, Apple pushed that slogan in an advertising campaign launched well before it became a mobile communications behemoth.

Having only been born a year earlier, nearly 5,900 miles away from Silicon Valley, Daniil Medvedev may not be familiar with that part of tech history.

Medvedev, though, has become the living embodiment of the philosophy.

The Russian world number five was heading into a US Open semi-final on Friday, taking on Grigor Dimitrov for a place in the final. There has been very little normal about Moscow-born Medvedev's route through to this point, everything about it has been different.

Boasting the biggest stadium in tennis and home to some extremely passionate locals, Flushing Meadows is a place capable of producing the kind of atmosphere players dream about playing in.

However, it is also a venue where nightmare experiences are possible, with many players taking exception to behaviour in the stands when the late-night New York crowd gets a little too invested in proceedings.

Medvedev is not like those players, though, and has instead thrived in the face of a sustained level of heckling many would have buckled under.

Amid a disagreement with an umpire in his third-round match with Feliciano Lopez, Medvedev was seen to aim a middle-finger gesture at the crowd. It was shown on the Louis Armstrong Stadium big screen and vociferous booing followed as Medvedev was cast in the role of villain.

He was still able to close out the victory but took part in a post-mach interview that was the antithesis of what is expected in the often-sterile on-court Q&A. The jeers were relentless and, in a situation where many would have pleaded with the fans to stop or cut the interview short, Medvedev soaked up the boos and thanked the crowd for them, praising spectators for giving him energy "to win the next five matches".

Medvedev's response was the same in the fourth round against Dominik Koepfer. Never has such a negative reception been so gleefully welcomed. The rocky relationship between Medvedev and the crowd proved mutually beneficial, as it provided fans with a hate-figure and Medvedev extra motivation to rile them up as he slogged his way through the draw.

Everybody loves to have a villain to hate. However, villains are more convincing when they have the game to back it up. It was the unique way in which he backed it up that turned the fans in Medvedev's favour.

Facing Stan Wawrinka in the quarter-finals, Medvedev developed a problem with his left thigh. It was clear that movement was a huge issue. It would have been the end for most players, and Medvedev later conceded he thought it would spell the end for him.

However, he masterfully ensured it did not finish him off. Restricting his most intense movement for his own service games, Medvedev changed up his tactics superbly, relying heavily on drop shots and exquisitely placed lobs to work a 34-year-old Wawrinka around the court at will.

Even though the Swiss won the third set, the revised plan bore fruit as Wawrinka faltered badly in the fourth, though Medvedev was not happy to win in such a fashion.

"After the match, it was tough for me to express many emotions because I felt the way I won was quite ugly," Medvedev said. "Because that's what I had to do."

It may have felt ugly from his perspective, but, from up in the stands, the speed and the effectiveness with which he altered his approach was a joy to behold, and he received a deserved standing ovation at the end of his last-eight triumph.

Asked if he and the crowd are friends again, Medvedev replied: "Hopefully. It's not for me to decide. What I got I deserved. Usually I'm not like this, as I was in the third-round match. I'm not proud of it. I'm working to be better."

Medvedev's is a redemption story nearing a fascinating conclusion that will come in the final if he defeats Dimitrov.

It may never be exactly clear why Medvedev felt the need to turn the spectators against him. On and off the court, he is an incredibly difficult player to read, even for his coach Gilles Cervara, who summed up his protege using another term adopted by Apple.

"It's like to coach a genius," said Cervara. "Sometimes a genius, you don't understand them. It's like this. They are different."

Belinda Bencic does not believe she is far away from becoming a grand slam champion despite seeing her 2019 hopes ended in a US Open semi-final defeat to Bianca Andreescu on Thursday.

Bencic, who will return to the world's top 10 next week, enjoyed the best major of her career as she reached the last four at Flushing Meadows, having previously only gone as far as the quarter-finals in New York back in 2014.

Despite coming unstuck against outstanding teenager Andreescu, having led 5-2 in the second set, the Swiss feels as though she is making good progress.

Rather than identify the need for any grand changes to her game to improve further, Bencic suggests "small details", experience and luck will contribute to future success.

"I think it's small details that matter," she told a news conference. "I think it's not about your forehand or your backhand.

"I think it's overall just trying to improve even the one per cent more of fitness, of mental [strength], of serve. I think just, overall, everything – maybe even the game when you don't play so well, to put the level a little bit up.

"Yeah, I'll just keep doing what I do. I think I just need to create more opportunities like this, playing semi-finals, semi-finals, quarter-finals.

"Eventually, you have to give luck a chance. That's my motto."

Given her previous difficulties at grand slams, Bencic was able to look upon the US Open as a positive experience even with the 7-6 (7-3) 7-5 loss – particularly having retired with a foot injury in her previous tournament at the Western & Southern Open.

"Definitely positively, for sure," she said when asked how she would reflect on the past two weeks. "We reached more than I expected here. After Cincinnati, coming into this tournament, yeah, I think it's my best result, semi-finals.

"Really, I'm taking it step by step. I'm just really happy and positive about it."

Things are getting serious at the US Open.

The women's semi-finals took place on day 11, with the focus firmly on Serena Williams' pursuit of history.

Williams is now a win away from tying Margaret Court's record for grand slam singles titles with her 24th major, the modern-day queen of the court wowing royalty in the stands with a dominant performance against Elina Svitolina.

Omnisport's man on the ground, Nicholas McGee, provides the details in our daily diary from New York.

 

A ROYAL OCCASION ON ASHE

Wimbledon is often graced by the presence of the British royal family, and there was one queen in attendance at Arthur Ashe Stadium to watch Williams rule over the court yet again.

Queen Latifah was a particularly interested spectator during Williams' rout of Svitolina, while Hollywood royalty also looked on.

Oscar-winning filmmaker Spike Lee was in attendance and received a huge cheer from the crowd when the Brooklyn-raised star was shown on the big screen.

BARTY & AZARENKA RACE THROUGH

Ashleigh Barty and Victoria Azarenka have six grand slam titles between them across singles and doubles, but that number could be about to increase.

The experienced pairing reached the women's doubles final by hammering Viktoria Kuzmova and Aliaksandra Sasnovich at Louis Armstrong Stadium. 

Barty and Azarenka lost just one game in the match, which they needed only 56 minutes wrap up in a display that should serve as an ominous sign for Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka and Caroline Dolehide and Vania King, who will meet in the second semi-final.

 

OSAKA GETS WOMEN'S SPORTSMANSHIP GONG

After Diego Schwartzman was presented with the men's sportsmanship award on Wednesday, the US Open confirmed the women's prize had gone to dethroned champion Naomi Osaka.

There could be no more deserving winner, with Osaka's actions following her win over 15-year-old Coco Gauff in the third round winning her plaudits around the world.

OMNISPORT REPORTER ENJOYS SOME PARK LIFE

The lighter schedule that comes with the latter part of the tournament presents the opportunity for some down time.

Our man in New York made the journey from Queens to Manhattan to explore the Big Apple.

Stomping the sidewalks can be tiring, but thankfully New York has plenty of places to take the weight off your feet, with Union Square Park one such laid-back spot.

Statues of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln feature prominently in the park and, though her achievements are of a very different nature, there is a strong chance Williams could join them in being bronzed once she finally hangs up the racquet.

Bianca Andreescu could not have imagined being in the US Open final this time last year but is in no doubt she is worthy of her place across the net from Serena Williams on Saturday.

Making her first appearance in the main draw at Flushing Meadows, the 19-year-old Canadian progressed to the final with a hard-fought 7-6 (7-3) 7-5 win over Belinda Bencic in Thursday's semi-final.

It is a scenario that would have been hard to envision 12 months ago when Andreescu lost in the first round of qualifying in New York.

However, Andreescu came through the preliminaries to reach the final in Auckland at the start of 2019, beating Caroline Wozniacki and Venus Williams along the way, and made a huge breakthrough at Indian Wells in March with victory over Angelique Kerber in the final.

Andreescu pinpointed those tournaments as the events that gave her the belief she could contend for major titles, but still conceded to struggling to comprehend what she has achieved this year.

Speaking at a media conference, Andreescu was asked what she would have said a year ago if someone told her she would be facing Williams on this stage.

She replied: "I don't think I would have believed them. I was ranked, like, outside of the 150, I think. It's just crazy what a year can do.

"If someone would have said that a couple weeks ago, I think I would have believed them.

"I've always dreamt of this moment ever since I was a little kid. But I don't think many people would have actually thought that it would become a reality.

"It all started in Auckland, then in Indian Wells. I just kept believing in myself."

Andreescu put her hands on her head after clinching victory over Bencic and added: "I think that moment after the match, I was just in shock.

"At the same time, I fought really hard to get to this point, so I really think I deserve to be in the finals on Saturday."

The teenager played four games with Williams in the Rogers Cup final last month before the American retired from the match.

She said of the prospect of facing the 23-time grand slam singles champion: "I remember always telling my team I would have always wanted to play her right before she retires.

"I'm really looking forward to it. She's an amazing champion on and off the court. It's going to be fun.

"She's fighting for her 24th on Saturday. I'm sure she's going to bring her A game. I'm going to try to bring my A game, too."

Andreescu dealt with a hostile crowd in her fourth-round match with American Taylor Townsend and appreciates she will have even less support against Williams, who is looking to tie Margaret Court's grand slam singles record.

"I don't know how that's going to go. But hopefully I can have some Canadians cheering me on," said Andreescu. "I remember I heard some during Taylor's match. For sure, the crowd's going to be for Serena. I just have to deal with that."

Serena Williams will have another chance to win her 24th grand slam and tie Margaret Court's record for major titles, but moved to dismiss suggestions it is her sole reason for remaining on the WTA Tour.

Williams crushed Elina Svitolina 6-3 6-1 to reach her 33rd grand slam final, and will hope it is a case of fourth time lucky against Bianca Andreescu after losing on her past three appearances in major showpieces.

The American lost to Angelique Kerber at Wimbledon in 2018 before succumbing to Naomi Osaka in a controversial final at Flushing Meadows last year.

She was comprehensively beaten by Simona Halep at the All England Club but will be the heavy favourite on Saturday when she takes on teenager Andreescu.

Williams is the subject of widespread admiration for her ability to maintain her level at 37 following the traumatic birth of her daughter.

However, the question has been raised as to whether she would still be in the sport if she had 25 grand slams to her name.

Yet when that query was put to her at a post-match media conference, Williams was emphatic, saying: "I definitely would still be playing if I had already passed it [Court's record].

"I've had so many chances to pass it and to have a lot more, but it's cool because I'm playing in an era with so many – five eras with so many amazing players.

"If you look at the span of the career, the players I've played, it's amazing that I was able to get this many."

Williams reached her first major final at 17, beating Martina Hingis in straight sets at the 1999 US Open.

Asked what her teenage self's response would be if told she would still be playing 20 years later, Williams replied: "I would definitely not have believed them.

"At 17 I thought for sure I'd be retired at 28, 29, living my life. So, yeah, I would have thought it was a sick joke."

Court and Kim Clijsters each won slams after giving birth, but Williams made it clear replicating that achievement is not her priority.

"I think it's amazing to come back with a baby and win because it's hard", said Williams. "My day off isn't a day off. I'm literally hanging out with baby, I'm doing activities with her. I don't want her to forget me. I try to spend as much time with her.

"I'm a full-time mum first, foremost. That means the most to me. I train, and then I rush home. The other day I found a trampoline park I wanted to take her to. At the end of the day, that's what matters to me, is just being there for my daughter.

"Being in a grand slam is difficult because it takes away a lot of time that we normally have together. At her age, she's starting to really learn things. Her brain is processing things more. I want to be a part of that. I don't want anything else to take that away.

"For me that's what definitely matters most."

Bianca Andreescu will play in her first grand slam final against Serena Williams at the US Open after coming through a fascinating battle with Belinda Bencic in straight sets.

Andreescu and Bencic were given an all too unnecessary reminder of what they would face in a potential final with Williams, who dismantled Elina Svitolina in the earlier semi-final at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Their duel proved a more prolonged and engrossing one as two players with hugely impressive variety to their games proved extremely well matched.

However, Andreescu's superior power proved the difference in a tight and tense affair, the 19-year-old Canadian coming back from 5-2 down in the second set to claim a 7-6 (7-3) 7-5 win that ensures a grand slam run few people expected will end with her holding a trophy of some kind.

Elina Svitolina has a lot to be proud of as she reflects on her grand slam season, having reached successive semi-finals at Wimbledon and the US Open.

But what may run through her mind on Saturday when she takes the long flight to China for the Zhengzhou Women's Tennis Open are the opportunities she missed to stamp her authority on a semi-final with Serena Williams that got away from her in a hurry.

The Ukrainian had the right approach in the opening game at Arthur Ashe Stadium, going on the attack early and immediately bringing up three break points, only to let all of them slip.

She committed the same offence in the fifth game with a chance to break back after Williams had surged 3-1 ahead, and from then on the contest became a lesson in making the most of opportunities that the American dished out with relish.

Williams needed just an hour and 10 minutes to wrap up a 6-3 6-1 victory, with Svitolina left to rue her inability to take those chances before the 23-time grand slam champion ensured no further openings were forthcoming.

"It was quite a good start for me, I would say. And first two games I had the chances to break and then to hold," Svitolina told a media conference. "[I] had the chances, but in the same time she played really, really focused and very precise on those two games. After she served in the third game unbelievable.

"I think [those] games gave her not confidence, obviously she's a really experienced player, but it gave her this push to play more freely."

Asked to analyse the break points, she said: "I think on half of them she played really great. She served really good and then went for a second-shot winner.

"Then I had maybe one or two points where I could step, I could make a difference, but I didn't. I made a few unforced errors.

"But, again, that's why she is who she is. You are playing in front of the best tennis player in the world. If you don't take it, she just grabs it and there's no chance to take it back.

"The last two slams have been good for me. I'm very happy with the way I could handle the tough moments. Unfortunately both times it's finished really one-sided, which I have to analyse, I have to sit down with my coach, I have to work a lot mentally on how I have to handle those kind of matches.

"That's where you have to really step up your game."

Svitolina revealed she was battling a knee problem during the match, adding: "I have a flight on Saturday to go to Zhengzhou. I'm going to play my match on Tuesday or Wednesday. I have no time for preparation.

"I'm going to recover and see how it goes because I've been having some issues with my knee. I will see how it goes, my health. I'm now going to play few tournaments in China. They're very important, of course. I'm trying to get back in Shenzhen [for the WTA Finals]."

Serena Williams is a win away from equalling the all-time record for grand slam titles after a routine straight-sets victory over Elina Svitolina in the US Open semi-finals.

Williams needed just 44 minutes to complete a route of Wang Qiang in the quarter-finals and this contest against a more accomplished opponent lasted just 26 minutes longer.

Svitolina paid the price for missing six break points in the first set and faded rapidly in the second in the face of a performance filled with the confidence of a player poised to join Margaret Court on 24 grand slam titles.

The 6-3 6-1 victory secured her place in a 33rd grand slam final, as she tied Chris Evert for the most US Open match wins with her 101st triumph at Flushing Meadows.

Bianca Andreescu or Belinda Bencic will stand between Williams and another piece of history in a career that will surely go down as the greatest in the history of tennis.

Few would disagree that men's tennis is due a makeover and perhaps we are closer than ever to glimpsing its new face.

The same names are reeled off at every grand slam when talk turns to the 'next generation', and Kei Nishikori ran us through them on the first day of this US Open.

The Japanese put himself forward as a possible contender, then added: "You see [Dominic] Thiem playing finals, and I think a couple of guys are getting closer.

"Of course, Sascha [Alexander Zverev] is a great player and a couple of young guys: Felix [Auger-Aliassime], [Denis] Shapovalov, [Nick] Kyrgios, those guys who are coming up, too. Oh, yes, and [Daniil] Medvedev."

Four times a year, the debate turns to which '#NextGen' star – Nishikori is now 29 – might be able to end the slam dominance of the 'Big Three'.

Andy Murray had made it a 'Big Four' and Stan Wawrinka won three majors in three years, but the latter's Flushing Meadows triumph in 2016 was the last time one of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic, three of the greatest players in history, did not win a grand slam.

There is certainly no shame in coming up short when those three represent the competition.

Federer has made his home in Melbourne and at Wimbledon, Nadal is close to untouchable on clay, and Djokovic, on his day and when fit, has the full package.

Opportunities for the rest are scarce. Thiem has been able to beat Nadal on the red dirt but not at Roland Garros, losing consecutive finals. The US Open has seen a varied cast of recent finalists, yet Djokovic has played in three of the past four deciders and won two of them.

This is the golden era of men's tennis, and yet...

Whisper it quietly, but might there be an argument that it has become a little dull seeing the same three names top the honours boards four times a year?

Can we have too much of a good thing? Federer, Nadal and Djokovic are certainly a good thing. They have done wonders for tennis with their efforts both individually and collectively.

But sport is arguably at its best when it is unpredictable, when fans come along for the ride not knowing which way it will twist or turn.

Look at the NFL or the NBA, where regular-season records count for nothing when the top seeds – like the New Orleans Saints or the Milwaukee Bucks – fall short in the playoffs. Look at the Champions League, where Manchester City, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain, try as they might, cannot turn domestic dominance into European success. Look a little closer to home at the WTA Tour.

For while men's tennis is a closed shop, the women's equivalent is anything but. Since Serena Williams completed her second 'Serena Slam' in 2015, there have been 10 different champions across 16 major tournaments.

Serena can dismantle any opponent when on top form and has at times done so this year, but the competition is healthy, the results are often unexpected.

So this year's men's US Open has been similarly refreshing.

We can all remember classic Djokovic-Federer clashes – as recently as the Wimbledon final – but Grigor Dimitrov downed the great Swiss in a New York epic, while Matteo Berrettini described his own quarter-final against Gael Monfils as "one of the best matches I've ever seen".

Seeing new faces compete at the business end of the tournament has been uplifting, with unusually early exits for Federer and Djokovic presenting opportunities for others to forge legacies.

And now, one could argue, we must have a new winner. Only Nadal, with a patchy recent hard-court record, remains of the superhuman trio. He is the favourite but surely he is beatable.

Because how quickly would a thrilling fortnight be forgotten if, come the start of next year, Nadal and Djokovic each held two slam titles? Conversely, a triumphant Medvedev, Dimitrov or Berrettini would renew hope within the locker room.

The 'Big Three' might not have long left at the top – particularly in 38-year-old Federer's case – but the 'next generation' need not wait that long to get over the hump. This looks like a fine opportunity.

Bianca Andreescu was left asking "is this real life?" after reaching the semi-finals of the US Open on Wednesday.

The teenager fought back from a set down to defeat Elise Mertens 3-6 6-2 6-3 to secure a last-four clash against Belinda Bencic.

At the end of the match, Andreescu looked towards her box with an almost anguished facial expression and the 19-year-old admitted she was coming to terms with the magnitude of her achievement.

"I said 'is this real life?' twice. I couldn't really believe it at that moment," said the 19-year-old.

"But then when I sat down, I just couldn't stop smiling, like I can't now."

Andreescu had never gone beyond round two of a grand slam before this tournament and the Canadian feels she is yet to show her best form.

"I'm going to be honest. I don't think I played my best tennis. I just fought really well with what I had every single day," she added. 

"I think that's the most important thing for me and I'm sure for every athlete you're not going to have good days every day.

"So, I just try my best to figure out what's going well and what's not and just go from there."

Canada has never produced a male or female singles grand slam champion, but Andreescu says the prospect of becoming the first is not on her mind.

"No, that hasn't really entered my mind, but that would be pretty awesome," she said. 

"If it happens, then I think I can pave way for many other athletes, the next generation, not only for Canadian tennis but I think for many people."

Rafael Nadal says his body is holding up well amid the rigours of a deep run at the US Open, where he booked a spot in the semi-finals on Wednesday.

With Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer having already exited at Flushing Meadows, Nadal is the hot favourite in New York and the Spaniard took a step closer to glory with a straight-sets win over Diego Schwartzman.

A 6-4 7-5 6-2 triumph did not tell the whole story against an opponent who provided a stern test for three-time US Open champion Nadal.

Nadal, who has endured well-documented injury troubles in his career, needed medical treatment on an arm issue but the 18-time grand slam winner insists he is in good shape.

"I'm feeling good. [It] was a very humid day, very heavy day. I had some cramps in the end of the second [set] and [in the] the first five or six games of the third," he said.

"And then I take some salt, that's all, and then it was over. The body is in good shape, I think. No, not big problems. 

"Of course, now I'm a little bit tired, it's been a long day. I need to go to sleep. But I really believe that I'm going to be in good shape."

Standing in the way of Nadal and a place in the final is outsider Matteo Berrettini, who defeated Gael Monfils in a marathon five-set encounter.

It was put to Nadal the Italian poses a similar threat to that of Marin Cilic, who he defeated in four sets prior to overcoming Schwartzman, given both players' propensity for power hitting and big serving.

But Nadal is expecting an altogether different challenge.

"I approach the game in a different way. I have one day to think about it, honestly," he added. 

"I just won a very important match for me and it is the moment to enjoy this victory. 

"Tomorrow afternoon I'm going to start to think about what's the plan for after tomorrow, and today is the moment to enjoy that feeling, be in semi-finals of a grand slam again. 

"I achieved the four semi-finals of the four grand slams this year and that's a lot. I'm very, very happy for that."

Andy Murray will have to endure a long process to get back to a level he is happy with as he continues his return from hip surgery, according to his brother Jamie.

Murray was expected to retire from tennis after an emotional media conference at the Australian Open as he revealed the full extent of his injury struggles, with most anticipating a thrilling five-set first-round loss to Roberto Bautista Agut to mark his farewell.

However, the three-time grand slam champion and former world number one underwent a hip resurfacing operation in the hope of extending his career and returned at Queen's Club in June, winning the doubles alongside Feliciano Lopez.

He played in the men's doubles and alongside Serena Williams in the mixed doubles at Wimbledon before partnering with Jamie at the Citi Open in Washington. Murray then made his singles comeback at the Cincinnati Masters, losing 6-4 6-4 to Richard Gasquet before being beaten by Tennys Sandgren in three sets at the Winston-Salem Open.

After two victories at a challenger event in Mallorca, Murray conceded to being fatigued following a three-set defeat to world number 240 Matteo Viola.

The 32-year-old opted to skip the US Open in order to play on the Balearic Island and work on his singles game in three-set matches, with Murray poised to feature in a number of tournaments on the forthcoming Asia swing.

Elder brother Jamie, who progressed to the semi-finals of the men's doubles with Neal Skupski and the final of the mixed alongside Bethanie Mattek-Sands at Flushing Meadows on Wednesday, believes it is important not to expect too much too soon from the two-time Wimbledon winner.

Speaking to reporters in New York, he said: "[It's] great that he's back on court competing. We had a lot of fun in Washington playing, that was really cool.

"For me to see him out there competing and playing well and enjoying it was really cool those few weeks that he was playing doubles. 

"To see him back playing in Cincinnati was really nice, although maybe he didn't perform the way he wanted to. It's going to be a long process for him to get back to the level that he's happy with.

"You saw with other guys, it took a while. [Stan] Wawrinka he's only now just being back at the level he's used to playing, it took him a long time after his arm injury.

"I think his goal is just to try to play as many matches as he can until the end of the year and try to get a good feeling and find his rhythm and confidence and I guess also find out what his movement level is going to be and then give himself hopefully the best chance to do a good pre-season and be ready for next year."

Rafael Nadal overcame a spirited effort from Diego Schwartzman 6-4 7-5 6-2 to move within two wins of his 19th grand slam title at the US Open on Wednesday.

Nadal had effusively praised Schwartzman ahead of their quarter-final encounter at Flushing Meadows, telling a media conference he liked "everything" about the 20th seed's game.

He should now find plenty of people agreeing with that assessment after Schwartzman, who knocked out Alexander Zverev in a fourth-round result Nadal said did not surprise him, wiped out 4-0 and 5-1 leads for the number two seed in the first and second sets.

Where the diminutive Schwartzman came up short was in turning those fightbacks into turnarounds, with Nadal able to find his best when it counted in a victory that sets up a semi-final with Matteo Berrettini.

Nadal made a blistering start as he peppered the Schwartzman serve right from the off and broke when the Argentine sent a backhand into the net.

Those inside Arthur Ashe Stadium would have been forgiven for believing a rout was in the offing as he raced through the first four games in New York.

By the same token nobody would have expected the service game he subsequently dropped to be little more than a blip for Nadal, but it gave Schwartzman momentum and he completely erased the deficit with the help of a forehand into the tramlines from the second seed.

He then had a chance to break for a 5-4 lead but overhit a volley in what proved a costly error as Nadal held and then broke to take the set when Schwartzman could only return a backhand slice into the net.

The second set provided a sense of deja vu as Nadal again moved into a comfortable lead only to surrender it.

A forehand overhead at the end of a 14-shot rally gave Nadal a break for 3-1 and that advantage soon became 5-1 but again Schwartzman roared back.

Schwartzman brought the crowd to its feet with a marvellous forehand passing shot in the seventh game, which he took with a baseline winner to break back and start another run of four successive games.

Nadal stemmed the tide, though, and then went 40-0 up on the Schwartzman serve. Schwartzman was only able to save two of the three break points and the sense of inevitability at the end of the second sent supporters flooding out of the arena.

Schwartzman was defiant in the third but by that point he was only delaying Nadal's passage into the last four, and he finally buckled after lofting wide to give the three-time US Open champion a break he was never in danger of offering back.

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN
Rafael Nadal [2] bt Diego Schwartzman [20] 6-4 7-5 6-2

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Nadal – 35/39
Schwartzman – 26/37

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Nadal – 5/1
Schwartzman – 4/3

BREAK POINTS WON
Nadal – 7/13
Schwartzman – 4/10

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Nadal – 63
Schwartzman – 60

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Nadal – 70/50
Schwartzman – 58/46

TOTAL POINTS
Nadal – 100
Schwartzman - 83

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