Serena Williams Defeats Tsvetana Pironkova in U.S. Open Women's Singles Quarterfinal
Serena Williams is moving on to the semifinals of the U.S. Open after a hard-fought victory on Wednesday night.
The 23-time Grand Slam champion, 38, came from behind to win (4-6, 6-3, 6-2) against Tsvetana Pironkova in the women's singles quarterfinals of the tournament held at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens, New York.
Williams will face off against Victoria Azarenka in the semifinals. Azarenka beat Elise Mertens (6-1 6-0) later on Wednesday in their own quarterfinal match.
"Listen, I'm happy to be standing here talking to you because at one point, I think I was pretty close to not being here," Williams said to Australian commentator Rennae Stubbs in her post-match interview, ESPN reported. "So keep fighting, and that's one thing that I'm super excited about is I never give up, and I just got to keep going."
And when it came to fellow mom Pironkova, Williams had nothing but good things to say about her opponent's skill on the court.
"I could barely win a match when I came back, so she’s incredible," she said. "You play a match and you go home and you’re still changing diapers. It’s like a double-life, it’s really surreal."
Williams previously beat Sloane Stephens in Saturday's match, and though there were no fans in attendance for their competition, Williams had special cheerleaders in the stands to cheer her on to victory.
Husband Alexis Ohanian and their daughter Olympia were seen clapping and wearing face masks during the match.
"I hope she saw her mama fighting," Williams said about her 3-year-old daughter after her victory.
"I don't think she was playing attention between you and me. I think she was playing with some princesses upstairs," the mom of one joked.
And while Williams has performed with ease on the court this U.S. Open, she opened up to PEOPLE last month about the daunting prospect of playing without fans in attendance.
"I've always played with such a big crowd," Williams said at the time. "Without fans, how will I do? I don't even know. But I look at it as another experience. A wild experience."