US Open: Ukrainian trailblazer Svitolina reaches semifinals

Elina Svitolina beat Johanna Konta in straight sets and awaits the winner of the last-eight match between Serena Williams and China's Wang Qiang.

Elina Svitolina plays a backhand return during her straight-sets, quarterfinal win over Johanna Konta.   -  AP

Elina Svitolina became the first Ukrainian woman to reach the US Open semi-finals on Tuesday with a 6-4, 6-4 win over British 16th seed Johanna Konta.

Fifth seed Svitolina, 24, advanced to the last four at a second consecutive Grand Slam after matching her run to the Wimbledon semi-finals in July.

She will either play six-time US Open champion Serena Williams or China's Wang Qiang for a place in Saturday's final at Flushing Meadows.

“It feels amazing. It was a very, very tough match. We were both striking the ball well. It was quite even. In the end I had to close it out on my serve,” Svitolina said. “I'm very, very happy the way I handled the pressure.”

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Svitolina watched a pair of match points pass her by at 5-3 on her opponent's serve as Konta gamely fought to stay alive, but the Ukrainian closed out victory in the following game.

“There was disappointment of course when I was close but I was just taking one point at a time and tried to stay calm.”

She will attempt to emulate Andrei Medvedev as just the second Ukrainian to play in a Grand Slam final. Medvedev lost the men's 1999 Roland Garros final in five sets to Andre Agassi.

“It's going to be a good match tonight and it's a semi-final for me so I must enjoy it whoever I play,” Svitolina said of the later quarter-final between Williams and 18th seed Wang.

“It would be exciting to play Serena one more time.”

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