New York: Czech Karolina Pliskova blew past Croatian teenager Ana Konjuh 6-2, 6-2 on Wednesday to reach the US Open semi-finals and a possible clash with world number one Serena Williams.
Tenth-seeded Pliskova, who survived a match point in her fourth-round victory over sixth-seeded Venus Williams, will face either Serena or fifth-seeded Romanian Simona Halep for a place in Saturday`s championship match.
The US superstar has won seven of eight career meetings with Halep, the Romanian taking a surprise 6-0, 6-2 victory at the 2014 WTA Finals.
But Serena has looked formidable in surrendering just 20 games in four straight sets victories so far in Flushing Meadows.
The 22-time Grand Slam champion, who has shown no sign of the shoulder trouble that hindered her in the wake of her Wimbledon triumph, says she`s slowly reaching her peak form.
"I just feel like I`m going out there doing what I need to do," she said. "I`m not overplaying, I`m not underplaying. I`m just trying to play my way into this tournament."
Pliskova said she`d be watching the Williams-Halep clash with interest as she readies for her first Grand Slam semi-final on Thursday evening.
"I`m so excited to be in my first semi-final," said the 24-year-old, who had failed to make it out of the third round in 17 prior Grand Slam appearances.
Having broken through to the quarters she didn`t waste her opportunity.
With a quick break under her belt in the opening game she was able to swing freely and needed just 57 minutes to subdue Konjuh, who upset fourth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska in the fourth round.
"I think it was the serve," said Pliskova, who finished off the match with two of her three aces. "My serve was very good today."
Konjuh said Pliskova was "just too good".
"Her serve is just too good. She found her rhythm and took the opportunities that I gave her."
But Konjuh, who is projected to rise from 92nd in the world to 51, couldn`t be disappointed with her fortnight`s work.
"I cannot be sad after all of this," she said. "When I came here I could only imagine playing the quarters. I think it`s been a great tournament."
Despite her dearth of Grand Slam success, Pliskova is playing with confidence after winning her biggest title to date on the hard courts of Cincinnati.
She beat Angelique Kerber in the final to deny the German world number two`s bid to supplant Serena atop the world rankings.
Kerber, who booked her semi-final slot on Tuesday with a 7-5, 6-0 victory over 2015 finalist Roberta Vinci, can still nudge Serena from the summit.
No matter the outcome of Kerber`s semi-final clash with former world number one Caroline Wozniacki, Serena must now reach the final to stretch her reign to a record-breaking 187 weeks.
If Kerber advances to the title match, Serena will have to beat her for a seventh US Open trophy to stay number one.