Both Serena Williams and her next opponent brought their fans to the brink on Tuesday at Wimbledon, coming from a set down to advance into the semifinals at the All England Club.
The No. 25-seeded Williams was stunned in the first set by a groundstroke barrage from the diminutive hard-hitting Italian Camila Giorgi before recovering to win 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
“I never thought I was in danger of losing this match,” Williams said. “Even when I was down the first set, I thought, ‘Well, she’s playing great, I’m doing a lot of the right things.’ I never felt it was out of my hands. If there is one lesson I would teach my daughter it’s never giving in, always fighting. It’s really important in life, no matter what you’re going through, to never quit.”
Williams in the semifinal will line up against unlikely opponent and No. 13 seed Julia Goerges of Germany. The lanky, equally-big ball-striking Goerges has had little historical success at Wimbledon until Tuesday coming from a set down to defeat No. 20 seed Kiki Bertens 3-6, 7-5, 6-1.
“Well it’s pretty amazing, I don’t know what to say,” said the 29-year-old Goerges after reaching a first career Slam semifinal. “I just tried to fight for every point. Kiki was playing very, very solid from the very beginning and I just tried to stay calm…Obviously it’s a great opportunity to play Serena here at Wimbledon where she has won so many times.”
The other semifinal will be comprised of former Grand Slam champions when No. 11 Angie Kerber meets No. 12 Jelena Ostapenko.
Kerber handled No. 14 Daris Kasatkina 6-3, 7-5, and Ostapenko out-slugged Dominika Cibulkova 7-5, 6-4.
Ostapenko said she feels no pressure in the latter stages.
“I’m just going out there and enjoying it, probably because at the French Open a couple weeks ago I had so much pressure,” said the former Wimbledon juniors winner. “It’s now all gone. I’m just enjoying the moment. You play on a big court, in a great place, on grass, which is one of my favorite surfaces. It’s just so much fun.”
Ostapenko will look to continue the fun against the highest seed remaining, the No. 11 Kerber who needed her running shoes against Kasatkina.
“I think we both played on a really high level, especially at the end,” Kerber said. “I was just trying to stay focused during my serve at the end and it’s great being in the semis. I was just thinking that I was just running everywhere on the court. She played really well, she was moving me very much. At the end, I was not thinking too much ‘That’s the match point’ or whatever, I was just playing another point and trying to take the match in my hand at the end. I was pushing myself until the limits.”
It will amazingly be a first-time meeting between the two Slam winners Kerber and Ostapenko. Williams is 3-0 career against Goerges, failing to drop a set, with their most recent meeting the 2018 French Open.
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