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Rivals Laud Serena’s Mental Game

Even with her powerful serve and formidable physical gifts, Serena Williams is getting the most praise from fellow US Open players for her mental toughness and confidence when facing adversity.

World No 1 Williams is trying to complete the first calendar Grand Slam since Steffi Graf in 1988 by winning the US Open for a 22nd Slam singles crown to match Graf’s Open Era record, two shy of Australian Margaret Court’s all-time record.

“She’s just a beast,” said American Donald Young, who won Saturday to reach the fourth round. “I think she turns it on whenever she wants to. It’s tough. It’s a lot of pressure.

The way she’s handling it is like a true champion.” Williams struggled early in her past two matches, even dropping the first set against Bethanie Mattek-Sands before rallying to win the last eight games and advance to Sunday’s fourth-round meeting with US 19th seed Madison Keys. “Serena is inspiration for everyone who is on the tour, for sure. She’s kind of big champion,” said Czech fifth seed Petra Kvitova.

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