As in the first, Williams broke early on and although Kanepi kept within touching distance, the home favourite powered her way into the final eight.
The pressure continued to mount as Kanepi, who had not strung together three consecutive tour-level match wins since her quarter-final run at last year's US Open, broke Williams again to go up 5-2 before holding off a late rally from the 17th seed to level the match. "She was hitting such big returns so I wanted to hit bigger second serves".
Her victory came a day after daughter Olympia turned one year old.
However, it was Williams' lightning fast start that sent fans into a spin on social media - the American seizing the first set from Kanepi in just 18 minutes.
"It'll be wonderful to win a grand slam while having a daughter but it's a lot of work".
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But first Stephens has to play Sevastova, the same woman she defeated in three sets in the quarterfinals a year ago.
"In the real world, it takes a while for your body to come back".
"Right now is not the time", she said. She hasn't won since and is trying to avoid going without a Grand Slam for the first year since 2011.
Serena Williams booked her spot in the US Open quarterfinals on Sunday, September 3, and said the biggest challenge of her post-pregnancy comeback was regaining fitness.
Meanwhile, defending men's champion Rafael Nadal beat Nikoloz Basilashvili Sunday 6-3 6-3 6-7 (6-8) 6-4 and will next face Dominic Thiem in the quarterfinals. "I just feel like I'm handling those situations much better".
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It certainly was. And that chase-down, turn-around, hook-shot of a passing victor showed a glimpse of how the No. 3 Stephens can go from defense to offense with flair, as she did repeatedly during her 6-3, 6-3 victory over No. 15 Elise Mertens of Belgium in the fourth round.
"I ran back and hit a forehand cross-court - and the crowd went insane", she said.
Sevastova toppled seventh-seeded Elina Svitolina 6-3, 1-6, 6-0, leaving just two of the top 10 women's seeds remaining. "I played a solid match so I couldn't really ask for any more".
I think every athlete, every human, and definitely every African-American should be completely grateful and honored how Colin and Eric are doing so much more for the greater good, so to say.
Kaepernick and Reid, two former San Francisco 49ers now out of the league, were each given huge ovations when they were introduced and shown on the big screen during the match between Serena and Venus Williams at the U.S. Open on Friday night.
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