Ginsburg’s death added to growing uncertainty about the election outcome and health of the economy.
“It just kind of crowds out the agenda, the idea that we are going to get a fiscal stimulus package before the election,” said Ed Campbell, portfolio manager and managing director at QMA in Newark, New Jersey.
“There is also just general election-related jitters … and possibly that we have a contested or delayed outcome.”
Congress has for weeks remained deadlocked over the size and shape of a fifth coronavirus-response bill, on top of the roughly $US3 trillion ($4.2 trillion) already enacted into law.
Healthcare providers came under pressure on uncertainty over the fate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare, with shares of Universal Health Services falling more than 11 per cent.
Ginsburg’s death could lead to a tie vote when the Supreme Court hears a challenge to the constitutionality of ACA in November, Mizuho, Stephens and other financial services firms said.
Wall Street has tumbled in the past three weeks as investors dumped heavyweight technology-related stocks following a stunning rally that lifted the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq to new highs after plunging in March as economies entered recession.
Another round of business restrictions will threaten a nascent recovery in the wider economy and add further pressure on equity markets, analysts said. The first round of lockdowns in March had led the S&P 500 to suffer its worst monthly decline since the global financial crisis.
In contrast to last week’s trend, declines were led by value-oriented sectors such as industrials, energy and financials as opposed to technology stocks . Financials were poised to notch their worst day since June 26.
Airline, hotel and cruise companies tracked declines in their European peers as the UK signalled the possibility of a second national lockdown. Europe’s travel and leisure index marked its worst two-day drop since April.
The largest gainer among the Nasdaq 100 was Zoom Video Communications, which rose 6.2 per cent on the prospect that fresh lockdowns would spur greater use of the product.
JPMorgan Chase & Co and Bank of New York Mellon Corp fell 3.82 per cent and 4.71 per cent, respectively, on reports that several global banks moved large sums of allegedly illicit funds over nearly two decades despite red flags about the origins of the money.
The S&P banking subindex lost 4.3 per cent.
Nikola plunged 20.2 per cent after its founder, Trevor Milton, stepped down as executive chairman following a public squabble with a short-seller over allegations of nepotism and fraud.
General Motors, which recently said it would take an 11 per cent stake in the electric truck maker, slipped 5.5 per cent. Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 8.67-to-1 ratio; on the Nasdaq, a 5.60-to-1 ratio favoured decliners.
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In an incredible climax to the Tour de France, Tadej Pogacar crushed his fellow Slovenian, Primoz Roglic, in the last stage before the finish in Paris.
Pogacar is set to become the youngest winner since 1904
Fellow Slovenian Roglic had started with a 57 second lead
Tasmanian Richie Porte went from fourth place to third
Pogacar is now poised to win the Tour de France after claiming the overall leader’s yellow jersey after clocking 55 minutes, 55 seconds in the time-trial stage.
Pogacar not only secured the yellow jersey in the time trial, he won the stage too. Roglic had started with a lead of 57 seconds over his countryman.
The upset comes as Australian Richie Porte is poised to take third place on the podium in Paris.
He’s the second Australian to achieve the feat since Cadel Evans in 2011.
The Tasmanian, who was sitting in fourth place, leapfrogged Colombian Miguel Angel Lopez into third place overall by finishing the 20th stage in third spot.
Pogacar’s win all but guarantees the 21-year-old will become the youngest victor in more than 100 years, since Henri Cornet in 1904.
“Unbelievable, unbelievable,” Pogacar said after Roglic laboured to the finish, no longer in the race lead.
Stage 20 was a 36.2-kilometre individual time trial between Lure and La Planche des Belles Filles.
Pogacar won the solo effort against the clock as Roglic cracked in the uphill section, a 5.9 kilometre climb at an average gradient of 8.5 per cent.
“I don’t know what to say, it’s a dream,” said Pogacar, who now leads second-placed Roglic by 59 seconds ahead of Sunday’s final stage, a largely processional ride to the Champs Elysees in Paris where only the final sprint is contested.
“Getting the yellow jersey on the final day, we were dreaming of it since the start. I knew every corner on the road, thanks to the work of my team.
“I think that my head is going to explode.”
A raw talent who holds no fear, Pogacar, who celebrates his 22nd birthday on Monday, now holds three distinctive jerseys — the yellow, the white jersey for the best under-25 rider and the polka dot jersey for the mountains classification.
The upset echoes that of the last day of the 1989 Tour de France when American Greg LeMond won the race by eight seconds over France’s Laurent Fignon after starting the time-trial 50 seconds off the pace.
After losing all hope of overall victory following a crash in the opening stage, Frenchman Thibaut Pinot rode through impressive crowds and smoke in his hometown of Melisey, where the roads had his name and that of his goat Kim painted all over them, adding to the sense of surrealism on the day.
Porte says third place ‘feels like victory’
Porte said his brilliant time trial ride to all but claim third spot on the penultimate day of Tour de France felt as good as winning the race.
The Tasmanian started the 99 seconds behind Miguel Angel Lopez in fourth, but produced the time trial of his life to finish 1:21 behind Pogacar’s stunning 55:55 to leapfrog the Colombian.
Porte has endured so much disappointment over the years, including an untimely puncture early in the 2016 Tour that eventually cost him a likely podium finish.
He also crashed out in 2017 and 2018.
But aside from a puncture scare inside the final 8km of the 14th stage last week, where he was forced to jump on teammate Kenny Elissonde’s bike to stay in touch with the main group, Porte has enjoyed a largely trouble-free Tour.
“This means so much to me,” Porte told ITV Sport.
“I came here without any real pressure. In the lockdown I didn’t even think this race was going to happen.
“There’s been so many years of disappointment, crashes and whatever and dramas.
“We’ve had dramas here like in Leon with Kenny’s bike the other day with the puncture so to come away with the podium is amazing.
“It’s no secret that I will be leaving Trek-Segafredo … but the way they have got around me this year and supported me has been fantastic.
“I had the world champion as my bodyguard and all of the boys have played their part it’s incredible.”
Porte’s involvement in the delayed running of the race forced him to miss the birth of his daughter Eloise last week in Monaco and he admitted he’d considered missing the race altogether but was persuaded to take part by wife Gemma.
“I missed the birth of my second child but my wife told me to race and said if she saw me sulking at the back of the peloton she would be upset with me,” he said.
“So to come here and finish third … this is sweet.
“I am over the moon, this feels like a victory for me.”
The majority leader of the US Senate has vowed to push ahead with President Trump’s nominee to replace Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, potentially scuppering the feminist pioneer’s dying wish.
The 87-year-old legal powerhouse revealed her final wish to her granddaughter Clara Spera just days before she lost her battle with cancer on Friday, telling her she did not want to be replaced “until a new president had been installed”.
“My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed,” Bader Ginsburg told her granddaughter, according to NPR.
The next US president will be inaugurated in January and one prominent Republican is already indicating they won’t wait until then to install Bader Ginsburg’s replacement.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell paid tribute to Bader Ginsburg in a statement but also vowed: “President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United State Senate”.
However, Republican senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski have previously said they would not approve a new justice this close to the election. A vote would be unsuccessful if two more Republicans decide to vote against the nominee.
US President Donald Trump has not made his views known about a replacement, only tweeting a statement that Bader Ginsburg was a “titan of the law”, who had a brilliant mind and had lived a remarkable life.
No Democrats are expected to vote for a conservative judge.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said: “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice”
“Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president,” he tweeted.
Ironically, McConnell denied a Senate vote to Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, after Justice Antonin Scalia died ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
In his statement on Bader Ginsberg’s death, McConnell said: “In the last midterm election before Justice Scalia’s death in 2016, Americans elected a Republican Senate majority because we pledged to check and balance the last days of a lame-duck president’s second term. We kept our promise.
“Since the 1880s, no Senate has confirmed an opposite-party president’s Supreme Court nominee in a presidential election year.
“By contrast, Americans re-elected our majority in 2016 and expanded it in 2018 because we pledged to work with President Trump and support his agenda, particularly his outstanding appointments to the judiciary. Once again, we will keep our promise.”
Mr Obama weighed in, saying Bader Ginsburg “fought to the end, through her cancer, with unwavering faith in our democracy and its ideals”.
“That’s how we remember her. But she also left instructions for how she wanted her legacy to be honoured,” he tweeted, providing a link to a full statement.
“Four and a half years ago, when Republicans refused to hold a hearing or an up-or-down vote on Merrick Garland, they invented the principle that the Senate shouldn’t fill an open seat on the Supreme Court before a new president was sworn in,” his statement read.
“A basic principle of the law – and of everyday fairness – is that we apply rules with consistency, and not based on what’s convenient or advantageous in the moment.”
Trump announced he would fly flags at the White House, all public buildings, grounds and military bases throughout the country until sunset on the day of her funeral.
Bader Ginsberg’s death was announced by the Supreme Court, which said the cause was complications from pancreatic cancer.
“Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died this evening surrounded by her family at her home in Washington, D.C., due to complications of metastatic pancreas cancer,” spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said.
Architect of the legal fight for women’s rights in the 1970s, Bader Ginsburg subsequently served 27 years on the nation’s highest court, becoming its most prominent member.
She was only the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court.
Chief Justice John Roberts said the US had lost a “jurist of historic stature”.
“We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague,” he said in a statement.
“Today we mourn, but with confidence that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her – a tireless and resolute champion of justice.”
Former Australian prime minister Julia Gillard, the first female to lead the nation, took to Twitter to acknowledge Bader Ginsburg.
“Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s intellect, wise words and determination to achieve gender equality shined throughout her long life of achievement. She inspired women around the world to do more and fight harder. RBG will be missed but her legacy endures,” she said.
Bader Ginsburg battled cancer for more than a decade.
She had surgery to remove a lung cancer in late 2018.
Residents in Melbourne’s original 10 hot spots have already been through 78 days of lockdown, beating the 77 days faced by residents of Wuhan, China, where the coronavirus was first detected.
Those living in other parts of Melbourne will surpass Wuhan’s lockdown next week.
The Chinese city, which went into lockdown on January 23 and came out of it on April 8, had about coronavirus 70,000 cases.
As of Thursday, Victoria has 19,970.
Melbourne and Wuhan’s lockdowns began with a similar sense of urgency.
Suburbs in Melbourne’s north and northwest were placed back into lockdown on July 1 with two days’ notice, but on July 4, a full lockdown was imposed with very short notice for nine public housing towers in Melbourne.
The notice was so little, some residents arrived home to see their building surrounded by police and were told once they stepped inside they were not able to leave.
In Wuhan, trains, buses and flights out of the city were suspended with just eight hours’ notice.
Residents were confined to their homes, unable to leave for basic essentials, which had to be delivered. Schools and shops were closed down and the streets of a city with 11 million residents became empty.
Elsewhere in the Hubei province, just one person was allowed to leave from each house every two days to collect basic necessities.
Authorities put up barricades, sealed buildings shut and increased surveillance to ensure people were following the harsh rules.
Melbourne is not set to open entirely until October 26, making its lockdown four weeks longer than Wuhan’s.
Health Minister Greg Hunt told the ABC last week Victoria could “do better”, and advised the state to adopt a more ambitious target for ending the lockdown.
“We want Victorians to be able to open their businesses safely, in a staged way, to return to life and to be free of a curfew which has profound mental health consequences,” he said.
Premier Daniel Andrews has since announced regional Victoria, having very little community transmission and overall cases, could progress to stage three of the road map out of lockdown, meaning residents can leave their houses at will.
Restaurants and shops are able to reopen, and a household can choose five members of one other household to break isolation with.
In metropolitan Melbourne, residents remain under strict lockdown, with a 9pm-to-5am curfew still in place.
In its policy statement, the Fed also began to pivot from stabilising financial markets to stimulating the economy: the Fed said it would keep its current government bond-buying at least at the current pace of $US120 billion ($164 billion) per month, but described the goal as in part to ensure “accommodative” financial conditions in the future.
US stocks added to earlier gains after the release of the Fed statement, but slid lower as Powell spoke. In late trade, the Dow Jones is up 0.4 per cent, the S&P 500 has lost 0.2 per cent and the Nasdaq has slid 1 per cent. Futures at 4.58am AEST are pointing to a loss of 10 points, or 0.2 per cent, at the open for the ASX.
The coronavirus epidemic continued to weigh on the economy, the Fed said in the statement, released after the end of its latest two-day policy meeting, even as officials upgraded their immediate outlook for the economy.
The virus “is causing tremendous human and economic hardship,” the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee said. “The Federal Reserve is committed to using its full range of tools to support the US economy in this challenging time.”
New economic projections released with the policy statement showed interest rates on hold through at least 2023, with inflation never breaching 2 per cent over that time. Policymakers saw the economy shrinking 3.7 per cent this year, far less than the 6.5 per cent decline forecast in June, and unemployment, which registered 8.4 per cent in August, was seen falling to 7.6 per cent by the end of the year.
All Fed policymakers saw rates staying where they are through 2022, with four eying the need for an increase in 2023.
But in pledging to keep rates low until inflation was moving above the 2 per cent target, to make up for years spent below it, the Fed reflected its new tilt towards stronger job growth, announced late last month after a nearly two-year review.
Both dissenters to the statement, Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan and Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari, took specific issue with the central bank’s guidance that it would keep interest rates where they are “until labour market conditions have reached levels consistent with … maximum employment and inflation has risen to 2 per cent and is on track to moderately exceed 2 per cent for some time.”
Kaplan said he would have preferred to have “greater flexibility” once inflation and maximum employment were on track to reaching the Fed’s goals, an easier hurdle to reach. Kashkari’s dissent suggests he wanted a higher hurdle: for rates to stay where they are until core inflation – which often runs cooler than overall inflation – has reached 2 per cent “on a sustained basis.”
More to come
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The NRL’s top eight is locked in, which means we can already start to look forward to a finals series that’s going to be packed with some really big games of football.
Looking at the eight, there are probably three or maybe four teams that can really stake their claims for winning the competition, with another two an outside chance.
Penrith, the Roosters and Melbourne are the three main teams in the box seat, with both the Panthers and the Roosters both possibly benefiting from not having to travel too much, which will have an impact, but not as much as getting a week off by winning their first semi-final.
Getting that week’s rest will go a long way in your favour of winning the competition this year, simply because nobody has had a break at all this year.
We know the semi-finals will be super high intensity because of the crazy speeds and intense play we’ve seen week-in, week-out so far this season.
The semi-finals are going to be very fast and if you can win the first week and get that week off, that’ll give you every chance the following week.
If you have to play every final all the way through, I think you’ll be too burnt out by the time the grand final comes around.
At the moment, Canberra are the only team outside the current top four that can really be in the discussion, with the possible addition of South Sydney.
The way Souths have been playing, especially their attack, they can certainly trouble any team in the competition if they get it right — and they’re getting it more right than wrong in the past few weeks.
They’ve probably been able to afford switching off here and there — like they did against the Tigers on Thursday — but they won’t be able to do that from here on out. They’ve got the DNA in that squad to really trouble teams.
In fact, at the moment I’d probably put both Souths and Canberra ahead of Parramatta, who are slowly declining and going backwards.
I don’t know if they’ve got the belief to get back and play the type of football they were playing earlier in the year — but while they’re still in the top four, they’re a chance.
Coaches tread fine line in managing players
Fatigue is going to play a major role in the finals, and the top three teams have managed that in different ways.
Craig Bellamy is doing a pretty good job of rotating his Storm players, who have been able to sit games out with some niggling injuries.
He gave Ryan Papenhuyzen a bit of a break on the weekend, and Cameron Munster and Cameron Smith had a couple of days off during the week so they’ll stay fresh. Dale Finucane has been out for a couple of weeks too.
Bellamy has had that luxury of having a few players pick up minor injuries just bad enough for them to need a rest but, at the same time, his team has kept winning games. The Roosters are the same, while Parramatta have looked fatigued in playing their stars week-in, week-out.
Canberra are different again. They have a bunch of tough, resilient blokes and are playing some good footy.
They’ve also had a couple of injuries, and those players are close to coming back, but there is a risk that those players will have been out for too long and will be lacking match fitness. It’s a tough balance to strike.
The Panthers are in a bit of a different situation to some of the other teams though.
Their players are saying they don’t want to have a rest — and Ivan Cleary’s been letting them play.
They’re super energised, enthusiastic and, most importantly, winning.
As a player, when you’re in a team that’s winning every week like the Panthers, you don’t want to sit out. First, you don’t know if you’ll get your position back. Second, you don’t want to miss out on the work that you’ve put in as a team to be in that position.
The Sharks were very similar back in 2016 when we won the competition. Nobody wanted to take a weekend off and Shane Flanagan didn’t rest any of us, he just let us play.
Most sides will be feeling OK heading into the semi-finals, but if they can win that game, get a week off and have a really good rest, it will certainly go a huge way to helping them win the competition.
Sonny Bill a powerful addition, but absent Rooster could prove vital
Cordner had an incredibly emotional week and although he got out there for long enough to blow out a few cobwebs, it was a good call from an emotional point of view as much as a physical one.
He’s a big-game player. He’ll be right to go next week and for the semi-finals as well.
It also gave a couple of returning players, such as Sonny Bill Williams and Mitchell Aubusson, a bit more game time.
Williams, in particular, benefited from the extra time on the field and, the way he’s going, he’ll be a major threat come finals.
He’s gone from playing 12 minutes one week, to 37 minutes the following week.
Williams admitted when he spoke to ABC Grandstand after the match that last week had been a bit of a “punch in the face” because he didn’t understand how fast the game had got in his absence, but he didn’t miss a beat on Saturday.
He was very involved and got off a good pass that led to a try for James Tedesco just before half-time. He had a couple of nice carries, a couple of half-breaks, some nice offloads, and he got involved in his tackling. He’d have had some fatigue in his legs, but with two more games before semi-finals, he’ll be fine.
Having Williams come in is definitely a plus for the Roosters, just in the number of big games he’s played in and what he can offer. They’re coming in as favourites because of that, but I still think they’re going to miss Victor Radley.
I think he’s a massive part of that side. With the way that he can attack with his defence and the ball movement that he gets through the middle for that team, he’ll be massively missed.
Write off Penrith at your peril
Matthew Elliott has been winding me up on ABC Grandstand by saying Penrith are not favourites for the competition.
But sometimes when people keep writing you off, it gives you the motivation to keep proving everyone wrong.
I was lucky enough to live through that same thing in 2003, when we had a really good year but nobody gave us a chance.
We won the minor premiership but there was always talk that our defence wasn’t good enough to win the competition.
We beat the Broncos in the first semi at Penrith, but apparently we didn’t start well enough so that meant we couldn’t win the next game.
So we went and beat the Warriors and then the talk turned to the fact that we’d had a great year but now we’ll get pumped by the Roosters.
So we got out in the Roosters game, played our best defensive game of the season, won the match 18-6 and, with it, the Premiership.
Everyone kept writing us off but that gave us the hunger, drive and the motivation to keep playing with a smile on our face.
The more you compare that team to the Panthers at the moment, the more it looks similar. No-one is giving them a chance but they keep proving them wrong.
Penrith are playing the best footy at the moment.
They’ve just got to realise that they’re doing everything right, but they’ve got to be able to do it for a longer period of time and at a higher intensity when it comes to the semi-final.
They’ve got the players there to do that, they’ve got the skill to do that, and they’ve got the defensive patterns there to do that.
Everything is already there, they’ve just got to be able to go that extra 10 per cent harder and that 5 or 10 per cent longer than what they’ve been doing normally, because that’s what it will take to win a premiership.
Luke Lewis was speaking to ABC News Digital’s Simon Smale.
A Chinese database containing information on more than 35,000 Australians could be used to blackmail them, a cyber security expert has warned.
The database, leaked from Chinese company Zhenhua Data and is believed to be used by China’s intelligence service, includes business leader David Gonski, former foreign minister Bob Carr, former Labor MP Emma Husar and singer Natalie Imbruglia.
University of NSW Canberra cyber director Nigel Phair said Australians should not be surprised personal information scraped from social media accounts was being collated.
“Espionage has been around for a very very long time and why not need use the interwebs if you are a nation state,” Mr Phair said.
“What they want to do is find about people so they can get leverage on them.
“It’s good competitive intelligence to find out what people are like and what they do.”
Mr Phair warned influential Australians could be targeted by threats to reveal private information that could tarnish their reputation because not all would live a “completely virtuous life”.
“It’s not just the political class, it’s celebrities,” he said.
Mr Phair said foreign groups could say: “For me not to (release the compromising information), I want you to start stealing government secrets.”
“Particularly with people who are in positions of influence or power … if someone does come along and try to influence them trying to reveal information we need mechanisms in place so they cannot go down that path,” he said, adding self reporting was one method.
New COVID-19 testing clinics will be set up in Brisbane’s south west, after a recent case spent time in the community while infectious.
It comes as Queenslanders are being warned the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, as the state records the second virus-free day in a row.
The state’s chief health officer, Dr Jeannette Young said she was still concerned about “ongoing risk of transmission” around the Ipswich area.
Dr Young said there was one person who had recently been diagnosed with COVID-19 who had been out in the Ipswich area while infectious in the last 14 days.
“Additional clinics will be put in place … we’re asking residents of Goodna, Redbank Plains and Redbank with any symptoms at all to come forward and get tested,” she said.
“We’re looking at putting some additional clinics in place, but at the moment there are several clinics people can go to. You can attend any clinic.
“There are still some chains of transmission we need to cap off.
“We want to find the first case in a cluster, not the fortieth… at that stage it is hard to get on top of it.”
In the last testing period, just 2934 samples were received, well below the state’s testing capability of 10,000 tests per day.
Dr Young said a second COVID-19 free day in row was a promising sign, she had concerns about cases possibly going undetected in the state.
“We will not be in the clear until there has been 14 days without any new cases in the community,” Dr Young said.
“It’s not under control… it’s too early to say it definitely is. We need to wait until we’ve seen two weeks clear.”
It comes as the World Health Organisation confirmed in the last 24 hours, the global case numbers had reached their highest daily tally since the pandemic begun.
Deputy Premier and Health Minister Steven Miles said while there were now only 30 active cases in the state, the pandemic was far from over.
“This hasn’t peaked yet. Sometimes it feels like it’s passed here because we have done so well but we need to remember that globally, this pandemic is getting worse,” he said.
“In Israel, in a bid to deal with their second wave, they’ve gone back into lockdown. Residents there will only be able to move within 500m of their homes for the next three weeks.
“It shows just what could happen if we experience a second wave in Queensland.”
Dr Young said it was “too early to relax”.
“We’re now eight months in and we’re learning more and more about this virus every day … this affects every cell in the body, and leaves long lasting problems for the heart, kidneys, brain and lungs,” she said.
“So it’s really important we minimise the number of people who get this disease.
“This is about people not getting this disease … that’s why we have very strict protocols in place for quarantine.
“There is no clear end to this, we need to work together.”
Mr Miles also hit back at the LNP, who he claims is making the state’s borders a political issue ahead of the October 31 state election.
Queensland’s Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who is expected to front media later today in a separate press conference, has been highly criticised over her state’s strict border measures.
In the last few days, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, and Queensland LNP Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington have all hit out at Ms Palaszczuk over a string of high profile cases of people unable to attend funerals or farewell dying relatives while in quarantine.
Mr Miles said all cases were complex, and the Prime Minister had “made a mistake” when weighing in.
“He was left with egg on his face when the facts of those cases came out,” he said.
“I know our CHO and her team go through all those cases, and… they are as compassionate as they can be, while ensuring Queenslanders are kept safe.”
Serena Williams was forced to dig deep to secure a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 US Open quarter-final victory over unseeded Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova, keeping alive her latest bid for a record-tying 24th grand slam singles title.
Williams has reached her 37th grand slam semi-final and 14th at Flushing Meadows
Pironkova was playing her first tournament since Wimbledon 2017, taking a break to have a child
Williams needs one more grand slam singles title to equal Margaret Court’s record
Williams, a six-time champion in New York, struggled with Pironkova’s slice forehand early and was at risk of her earliest US Open exit in 14 years until she used her experience to find a way back.
“I’m happy to be standing here … because at one point I was pretty close to not being here,” Williams said during the on-court winner’s interview.
“I keep fighting and that’s one thing that I am super excited about is I never give up.”
For Pironkova, who dropped to 0-5 in career head-to-head meetings with Williams, the loss marked the end of a surprise New York run given this was her first professional tournament since Wimbledon in 2017.
Pironkova, back after an absence of more than three years during which she had a baby in early 2018, made a nice start as she consolidated a break to go ahead 4-2 in the first set.
After Williams saved two set points on serve to pull within 4-5, the Bulgarian held her nerve and secured the opener with a backhand crosscourt winner.
In the second, Williams won a 24-point rally to break and open up a 5-3 lead and then, after falling behind 15-30 on her serve, fired three consecutive aces to force a decider.
Williams broke to start the third set in a game during which she even hit a left-handed shot, and never looked back as Pironkova suddenly started to run out of gas.
“Definitely [I] was feeling it in my legs,” Williams said of her flat start.
“In the beginning I was a little bit fatigued for whatever reason so obviously I can’t do that if I want to keep winning so I am going to try to figure that out.”
Williams paid credit to her opponent, saying it was “unbelievable” how she has come back after her break.
“I could barely win a match when I came back … she’s incredible,” Williams said.
“That’s why I say I think I’m most influenced by moms, they’re like ‘oh my God, how do you do it?'”
Williams has been stuck on 23 grand slam singles titles, one shy of Margaret Court’s record, since winning the 2017 Australian Open.
She has since reached four grand slam singles finals, two each at Wimbledon and New York, losing all four.
Up next for the 38-year-old Williams, who has been pushed to three sets in her last three victories, will be either Belgian 16th seed Elise Mertens or former world number one Victoria Azarenka of Belarus in Thursday’s semi-final.