Serena Williams of the United States gestures to her daughter Olympia (not pictured) in the stands after her match against Sloane Stephens of the United States (not pictured) on day six of the 2020 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Others wondered if the crowd had actually been a hindrance, as it increased the pressure on her. Williams hasn't provided much insight either way during any of the tournaments since the restart but has called it "relaxing" on multiple occasions.
The 38-year-old stormed back - rarely yelling her trademark "Come on!" after big points - winning 10 of the last 12 games for a 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 victory.
Second seed Sofia Kenin defeated Tunisia's Ons Jabeur 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 to set up a match against Belgium's Elise Mertens for a quarter-final place. "I'm like, 'Oh, my goodness.' It's just something that's innate".
"In that first set I don't think she made any errors, she was playing so clean", said Williams.
In the first set, she won just 50 percent of points on her first serve; in the second, she won 76 percent. She's playing so good.More news: Nandi Bushell Crushes Dave Grohl's Request in Drum-Off
Serena Williams admits she does occasionally struggle to handle the pressure of being "Serena", but she believes "pressure is a privilege".
Williams faces Maria Sakkari on Monday in the round of 16.
Sakkari, 25, beat Williams in the three sets at the Western and Southern Open last week.
Pospisil eliminated No 8 Roberto Bautista Agut 7-5, 2-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, and next faced another five-set victor, de Minaur, who defeated No 11 Karen Khachanov 6-4, 0-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-1.
"You know, Serena is Serena", Sakkari said after advancing by beating 19-year-old American Amanda Anisimova 6-3, 6-1. "You have to come up with some great tennis".More news: Bangladesh: At least 18 dead following explosion at mosque in Narayanganj
The end of the first set was met by total silence - not even the awkward, manufactured soundtrack piped in during other matches to simulate ambient noise.
The Austrian triumphed 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 against Nagal, who became the first Indian man since 2013 to reach the second round of a Grand Slam. This time, Williams had just her own inner voice as she sat in her chair during the set break.
She was on her way.
If Serena is successful, she'll tie with long-retired Australian Margaret Court, 78, for all-time lead in Grand Slam titles. "Every day having "Serena" on your back is a massive target for the tour, for press, for stress", she admitted. Whether she remembers or not, we can always have pictures. "I just try to think about how fortunate I am to have been in this position and, honestly, to be Serena".
"We all hope she gets to it", Stephens said.More news: Red-flagged Italian Grand Prix restarts, Hamilton serves stop-go penalty