A Calm Serena Williams Claims Her Spot from the Wimbledon Semifinals
WIMBLEDON, England — When Serena Williams withdrew via the French Open last month using a pectoral injury before her fourth-round match with Maria Sharapova, Williams’s coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, wasted no time seeing the bright side.
“in which’s O.K.,” he said defiantly. “She’ll win Wimbledon.”
A little more than a month later, Williams can be two matches away via doing precisely in which, two matches away via tying Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles.
There were doubts about Williams’s health, form as well as also state of mind when she arrived at the All England Club, yet she has dispelled them round by round as well as also serve by big serve.
There were many of the latter in her 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 quarterfinal victory on Tuesday over Camila Giorgi, an unseeded Italian with ample power of her own.
in which was fast-twitch, hug-the-baseline tennis. Giorgi, embracing the initiative as well as also the risks, even managed to win the first set. Though Williams was undoubtedly under duress, she never looked overwrought as well as also drained the suspense out of the match by winning her last three service games at love.
“in which’s weird, sometimes I feel, ‘Man, I’m in trouble,’” Williams said. “For whatever reason, today I was so calm. Even when I was down the first set, I thought, ‘Well, she’s playing great. I’m doing a lot of right things. in which can be what can be.’”
using a big goal in sight, Williams has cracked before against an unseeded Italian veteran, losing to Roberta Vinci from the semifinals of the 2015 United States Open when Williams was just two victories away via completing the first Grand Slam in 27 years.
The weight of in which chase proved too much to bear, yet with Court’s record looming ever larger at Wimbledon, Williams has so far looked at ease with the circumstances.
Her draw can be one of the cushiest of her long as well as also rich career. She has faced no one from the top 50, as well as also though she will finally face a seeded opponent from the semifinals in No. 13 Julia Görges of Germany, Görges has never been in which deep in a Grand Slam tournament in singles as well as also lost from the first round at Wimbledon the previous 5 years.
Williams, 36, beat the big-serving Görges from the third round of the French Open last month. yet at age 29, Görges can be finally from the final four at a major after rallying to win her quarterfinal against another late-blooming veteran, Kiki Bertens, 3-6, 7-5, 6-1.
“For me in which’s much sweeter to get to the semifinal here than in probably different Grand Slams because I didn’t expect in which via my side,” Görges said.
Thursday’s different semifinal will match No. 11 seed Angelique Kerber of Germany against No. 12 Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia.
Kerber, 30, as well as also Ostapenko, 21, have never faced each different. They are via different tennis generations. They possess very different styles: Ostapenko can be one of the game’s premier punchers; Kerber one of its premier counterpunchers.
yet both are former Grand Slam champions back on the rise. Kerber won two majors in 2016 as well as also also lost in the Wimbledon final to Williams in which year. Ostapenko won the French Open last year by swinging for the lines without a smidgen of self doubt. Although she folded quickly when she defended her title in Paris in which year, losing from the first round, Ostapenko has played as if she has another point to prove at Wimbledon, rumbling past 5 opponents without dropping a set.
On Tuesday, she defeated Dominika Cibulkova, a Slovak who takes plenty of risks via the baseline herself, 7-5, 6-4.
Asked if Ostapenko could go on to win the title, Cibulkova did not hesitate: “Of course she can. She made in which before. She can make in which again. She’s young. She’s playing with no fear. These are advantages. On the grass, I think she’s playing even better than on the clay. in which might be. in which might be her year.”
Ostapenko closed out their match on Court 1 minutes before Kerber closed out hers against Daria Kasatkina on Centre Court, the match of the day.
The score — 6-3, 7-5 — gave little indication of the levels of suspense as well as also delight in which Kerber as well as also the 14th-seeded Kasatkina combined to produce. The second set featured just about every shot from the book, including one in which might not have been from the book until right now: a leaping backhand drop-shot winner via Kasatkina.
yet then Kasatkina, a 21-year-old Russian who can be having a breakout season, has so many tennis tools. The Centre Court crowd, some of whom had surely never seen her play in person, voiced their appreciation repeatedly as she put her collection of spins as well as also rhythm shifts on display. She also won 22 of the 37 rallies in which lasted for nine shots or more (there were only six rallies in which long from the Williams-Giorgi match).
in which was audacious, frequently brilliant stuff, yet Kerber’s smaller set of implements ultimately proved more reliable. She was quicker as well as also more consistent, yet also bold — slapping her left-handed forehand down the line under pressure as well as also finding a way to produce her trademark depth even in extremely defensive positions.
Most important, she showed remarkable resolve to close out the match by holding serve as well as also nerve from the final set after Kasatkina had saved the first six match points in a memorable 12th game.
in which was Kasatkina’s first appearance on Centre Court. in which can be unlikely to be her last, as well as also with her skills as well as also improvisational bent, in which was entirely possible to imagine her someday holding up the Venus Rosewater Dish in which goes to the women’s singles champion.
For right now as well as also for who knows quite how much longer, Williams can be the woman who has the tightest grip on in which trophy. She has won in which seven times as well as also has right now won 19 straight singles matches at the All England Club, taking the title in 2015 as well as also 2016 before skipping last year’s tournament because she was seven months pregnant.
She gave birth to her daughter, Olympia, in September by cesarean section as well as also then experienced post-delivery complications in which required further surgery. in which has been a difficult road back to the business end of a major as Williams has struggled with her weight as well as also her completely new priorities. yet in which has also been a remarkably speedy journey considering in which Olympia, who recently began taking her first steps, can be only 10 as well as also a half months old.
in which can be just Williams’s fourth tour event since she returned to the circuit in March, as well as also in which can be her first run past the third round. yet Wimbledon, where the points are shorter as well as also her formidable serve can be often at its most effective, has long looked like the best place to truly judge the state of her game.
“I think I might have been shocked if she had come back as well as also won her first tournament,” said Kamau Murray, who coaches Sloane Stephens. “With the game being so physical, I don’t think in which can happen anymore, yet I think in which can be about the time as well as also about the number of matches someone might need to get back from the groove.”
Yet in which comeback, the latest of many in her long as well as also eventful run from the spotlight, can be undoubtedly a completely new experience via Williams’s perspective.
“Because I develop the baby,” she said Tuesday. “Being a mom can be totally different. I still have to think, ‘Wow, I’m a mom.’ Every day in which’s different for me.”
She recovered quickly via her muscle strain in Paris, which was partly caused by searching for extra power while serving. yet she has adjusted her motion at Wimbledon to include more trunk rotation, as well as also against Giorgi she hit her fastest serve of the tournament: 122 miles per hour. More critical, she lost only 14 points on serve, helped along by Giorgi’s refusal to adjust her service position or big-swinging approach.
Mouratoglou was surely enjoying the view behind his sunglasses, although he could not confirm in which on Tuesday because he has agreed at Williams request not to speak publicly about her during in which tournament. He did not mince words in Paris, criticizing her decision to play doubles as well as singles because in which left her vulnerable to injury as well as also complaining in which she had left him out of the loop.
Mouratoglou declined to explain the particulars.
“I made in which commitment to not speak,” he said after Tuesday’s victory. “For her to win Wimbledon can be much more important than my freedom of expression.”
For those who know Mouratoglou, in which can be quite a change, yet he can be already on the record about who will win in which year’s Wimbledon title.
Two more victories, as well as also Williams will prove him right.