If Serena Williams is going to win her third Slam of the year at Wimbledon this week, she’s going to have to go through the best of the best.
Yesterday she beat five-time Wimbledon champ and sister Venus Williams. Today she beat former No. 1 Victoria Azarenka. Next up in the semifinals? Former Wimbledon champ and former No. 1 Maria Sharapova.
Serena in the Tuesday quarterfinals at the All England Club was forced to come back against Azarenka, down a set but beating the No. 23-seeded Belarussian 3-6, 6-2, 6-3.
Williams at one point in the second set started a streak of seven consecutive games that took her on to a 3-0 lead in the third and eventual victory.
“I feel like Victoria and I always have really wonderful matches,” Serena said. “She’s always able to push it to three sets — we always have some great three-set matches.”
The No. 4-seeded Sharapova failed to close out the match after leading 6-3, 5-3 against the unseeded big-serving American CoCo Vandeweghe, but in the third drove out to a 3-0 lead en route to a 6-3, 6-7(3), 6-2 win.
“Today, serving for the second set, I could have made it easier,” the Russian said after reaching her first Wimbledon semifinal in four years. “It went to a third, but I still got the job done. I have to be pleased with that, that I’m in the semifinals again here after so many years.”
Williams has won the last 16 meetings against Sharapova amidst a 17-2 career head-to-head tally.
“I love playing Maria,” Serena said. “For me, I don’t feel like I have any pressure going into this match. We both lost early here last year. We’re both kind of enjoying this moment and at the end of the day one of us will be in the final.”
The other semifinal will feature Aggie Radwanska against Spanish grasscourt rookie Garbine Muguruza.
Radwanska with her retrieving game and time after time offering up opponents one more ball to make a mistake on, defeated American Madison Keys 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-3, reaching her third Wimbledon semifinal in four years.
“It was very tight and I just tried to play it point by point, game by game,” said Radwanska, who drew 40 unforced errors out of Keys. “That’s how you have to play it and in the third set one break was the difference…She’s a very talented, powerful player and I knew it was going to be very tough today.”
Muguruza, who round after round in press conferences has underlined her unfamiliarity with the grass, nevertheless continues to press on, in her quarterfinal defeating Swiss Timea Bacsinszky, 7-5, 6-3 to advance to her first Slam semifinal.
“It was a very tough match,” said Muguruza, who showed a masterful balance of baseline power and moving in to finish points. “The last game was a very intense one, so there was so much relief after that.”
She is the first Spaniard since Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario in 1997 to reach the semifinals of Wimbledon.
Radwanska says she anticipates a semifinal match similar to her quarterfinals.
“I’ve seen a few of [Muguruza’s] matches this tournament and she’s playing great tennis. She’s actually playing very similar to Keys so I think it could be a similar match,” the Pole said. “It’s the semifinals so, of course, there’s nothing to lose. All the players are playing great tennis. I’m just going to fight for each point and try to play my best. One day’s rest and I’ll be ready to go.”
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