Grand Slam rallies are a give-and-take of pace and spin.
Contesting her 90th career US Open match, Venus Williams knows no one gives majors away.
So she took it to Carla Suárez Navarro.
The 37-year-old Williams elevated her aggression in the final set flying into her third Grand Slam quarterfinal of the season with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 US Open victory over the Spanish veteran.
A commitment to forward thinking carried Williams past a tricky opponent. Williams won 22 of 31 trips to net, withstood seven double faults and denied seven of nine break points.
It is Williams’ 12th career US Open quarterfinal—and marks the first time in seven years she’s advanced to three major quarterfinals in the same season. Williams joins compatriot Sloane Stephens as one of two women into the last eight.
“For me, I’m focused on myself and trying to be as aggressive as possible,” Williams told ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi afterward. “No one ever gives you a Slam—you’ve got to take it. I know that. So I’m going to try to take it.”
Twenty years after a 17-year-old Venus rolled to the final in her US Open debut, she played dynamic tennis in the first and last sets.
The ninth-seeded American won 10 of 11 trips to net and doubled Suárez Navarro’s winter output (12 to 6) winning the final three games of the opening set.
Suárez Navarro drew a backhand error breaking to snatch the second set and level the match after one hour, 23 minutes.
Applying pressure driving the ball down the line, Williams banged out the break and a 2-1 lead in the final set.
A crackling rapid-fire net exchange ended with Suarez Navarro tomahawking a forehand in the fourth game. That was really her last stand as Williams shrugged it off and stamped a hold.
Moving up quickly to confront a net-cord shot, Williams whipped a two-handed backhand crosscourt seizing the double break and a 4-1 lead.
Cracking a crosscourt forehand, Williams followed it forward and scooped an angled forehand volley imposing a convincing close to a one hour, 50-minute match.
Williams advanced to the US Open quarterfinals against two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova, who has won four of five meetings with Williams. Kvitova conquered Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza, 7-6, 6-3.
“As Billie Jean King says pressure is a privilege,” Williams said. “I need a challenge. I love the pressure, especially it’s the last major of the year and it’s at home. There’s no better energy in Ashe than when (fans) go wild. I love it here.”