LEARNING

No.5 seed Elina Svitolina and No.8 seed Serena Williams have not played each other in over three years, with Williams leading the head-to-head 3-1. The American won their first three meetings - 4-6, 6-2, 6-0 in the third round of the 2015 Australian Open, 6-4, 6-3 in the Cincinnati semifinals in the same year, and 6-1, 6-1 in the fourth round of Roland Garros 2016. However, Svitolina captured their most recent clash 6-4, 6-3 in the third round of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.

Serena Williams and Elina Svitolina are the only players who have reached multiple Grand Slam semifinals in 2019. Belinda Bencic and Bianca Andreescu are both making their debut at this stage; 19-year-old Andreescu is the first teenager to make the last four at the US Open since Caroline Wozniacki and Yanina Wickmayer in 2009. With Marketa Vondrousova already having made the Roland Garros final, a win for Andreescu would seal the first WTA season since 2007 (when Maria Sharapova was the Australian Open runner-up and Ana Ivanovic the Roland Garros finalist) with multiple teenage major finalists.

Elina Svitolina became the first ever Ukrainian woman to compete in a Grand Slam semifinal at Wimbledon, is the first ever Ukrainian woman to reach the US Open semifinals, and is bidding to become the first Ukrainian woman to make a Grand Slam final. 

Bianca Andreescu and Belinda Bencic, who will meet for the first time, are both bidding to become the second women from their countries to reach a major final, following Eugenie Bouchard and Martina Hingis respectively. The only previous Canadian to make the last four of the US Open in the Open Era was 1984 semifinalist Carling Bassett-Seguso; the last Swiss representative in the US Open final was Hingis in 1999, and in any major final Hingis at the 2002 Australian Open.

Serena Williams is the last player to have won the Rogers Cup and US Open in the same year, having done that double in 2013 (Getty)

Serena Williams is 32-5 in Grand Slam semifinals over the course of her career, and 9-3 at this stage at the US Open with her only losses coming to Kim Clijsters in 2009, Roberta Vinci in 2015 and Karolina Pliskova in 2016. Elina Svitolina is 0-1 in major semifinals, having lost at Wimbledon to Simona Halep. Svitolina is also 0-4 in semifinals in 2019, having fallen at this stage in Doha, Dubai, Indian Wells and Wimbledon.

All four semifinalists are Rogers Cup champions - and all won their Canadian titles in years when the tournament was held in Toronto: Serena Williams lifted the trophy in 2001, 2011 and 2013; Belinda Bencic in 2015; Elina Svitolina in 2017; and Bianca Andreescu is the reigning champion, having claimed her second career title at home last month. Andreescu is bidding to become the 10th player in the Open Era to follow victory at the Rogers Cup with the US Open crown, following Margaret Court (1970), Chris Evert (1980), Tracy Austin (1981), Martina Navratilova (1983), Stefanie Graf (1993), Arantxa Sánchez Vicario (1994), Justine Henin (2003 and 2007), Kim Clijsters (2005) and Serena Williams (2013).

Bianca Andreescu is the fourth player in the Open Era to reach the US Open semifinals on her debut at Flushing Meadows, following 1971 semifinalist Chris Evert, 1978 runner-up Pam Shriver and 1997 runner-up Venus Williams. Andreescu, who lost in the first round of qualifying here in both 2017 (to Liu Fangzhou) and 2018 (to Olga Danilovic) is competing in just her fourth Grand Slam main draw. Only six women have reached a major final in four or fewer main draw appearances, including Monica Seles, who won Roland Garros 1990 in her fourth main draw - the fastest player to win a first Grand Slam title in the Open Era.

A win for Serena Williams would mean that the 23-time Grand Slam champion equals Chris Evert's all-time record of 101 US Open victories. Williams's first of these wins was on her 1998 debut, when she beat Nicole Pratt 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 in the first round and Pavlina Nola 6-2, 6-1 in the second round before falling 6-3, 0-6, 7-5 to No.9 seed Irina Spirlea in the third round.

Elina Svitolina is the only semifinalist yet to drop a set. Belinda Bencic and Serena Williams have conceded one each, to Alizé Cornet and Catherine McNally respectively (both in the second round), while Bianca Andreescu was taken to three sets by both Taylor Townsend in the fourth round and Elise Mertens in the quarterfinals. However, Svitolina has also defeated the most number of seeds to get to the last four: No.32 Dayana Yastremska, No.10 Madison Keys and No.16 Johanna Konta, in addition to two-time champion Venus Williams.

As recently as October last year, Bianca Andreescu was ranked World No.243, while Serena Williams was World No.491 in March 2018 (having just returned from maternity leave) and Belinda Bencic was World No.318 in September 2017 (after struggling with multiple injuries that year). All three will be ranked in the Top 10 after the US Open - a debut for Andreescu, and a return to that echelon for the first time since June 2016 for Bencic.

Bianca Andreescu has compiled an astonishing 43-4 win-loss record in 2019, and 30-4 at WTA main draw level. Her only losses in completed matches have been to Julia Goerges in the Auckland final, Anastasija Sevastova in the second round of the Australian Open and Sofia Kenin in the Acapulco semifinals in March.

TRENDING

ORDER OF PLAY

For full order of play, visit usopen.org.

READING

Belinda Bencic's second act is proof that teenage prodigies' careers are not always a smooth arc upwards - but that they can still blossom eventually, writes Steve Tignor for tennis.com.

With one of the most varied repertoires on Tour, Bianca Andreescu is a dream to coach - as Sylvain Bruneau tells Stephanie Livaudais for wtatennis.com.

WATCHING