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Serena Williams rallies to beat Sloane Stephens at US Open, maintaining quest for 24th major

September 5, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Serena Williams' quest for a 24th Grand Slam title continued Saturday but she had to rally against a rejuvenated Sloane Stephens at the US Open.

(CNN)Serena Williams' quest for a 24th Grand Slam title continued Saturday but she had to rally against a rejuvenated Sloane Stephens at the US Open.

Williams lost the first set before prevailing 2-6 6-2 6-2 to reach the fourth round, her serve -- and legendary desire to win -- playing a big factor at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York.

But there watching Williams was her daughter, Olympia, and husband Alexis Ohanian.

The 38-year-old Williams faces another stern test on Monday when she meets Greece's Maria Sakkari -- who beat her last week.

The turnaround for Williams against Stephens came at 2-2 in the second, when she saved a break point before breaking for 4-2 against the 2017 champion.

After the key two-game swing, though, Williams raised her game.

When Williams broke for 3-1 in the third, Stephens' chances all but evaporated.

The victory is sure to be a confidence booster for Williams after suffering upset quarterfinal losses at two warmup events when she held commanding leads.

That included against Sakkari at the Western & Southern Open, when Williams led by a set and 5-3.

If she goes all the way in New York, Williams would tie Margaret Court for the all-time lead in Grand Slam titles.

Besides Williams' family, fellow players Naomi Osaka, Dominic Thiem, Sofia Kenin and Petra Kvitova took in the action from their luxury suites on Arthur Ashe that would otherwise go to corporate sponsors and guests.

Saturday's most dramatic contest saw Karolina Muchova -- who beat Venus Williams in the first round -- save three match points to defeat Sorana Cirstea of Romania 6-2 2-6 7-6 (7).

The eighth-seeded Spaniard came close to ending Novak Djokovic's unblemished 2020 record last week at the Western & Southern Open in New York.

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