Serena Williams on Tuesday survived a major scare before sealing her 11th Wimbledon semi-final appearance, while Angelique Kerber remains the seven-time champion’s main title rival after the German joined her in the last four.
Williams was in danger of a stunning quarter-final exit after world No. 52 Camila Giorgi became the first player in this year’s tournament to take a set off the former world No. 1.
However, Williams bludgeoned her way out of trouble, winning 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 to stay on course for an eighth All England Club triumph.
It was Williams’ 100th career main draw victory on grass.
The 36-year-old is today to play German 13th seed Julia Goerges for a place in Saturday’s final.
“I knew after the first set, ‘all right, let’s go three sets.’ I’ll just keep fighting,” Williams said. “This is only my fourth tournament back, so I don’t feel pressure. I don’t feel I have to win this. I still have a long way to go to be where I was.”
Williams is the first woman since 2013 to reach a Grand Slam semi-final without facing a top-40 ranked opponent.
Williams is into the 35th Grand Slam semi-final of her career and her first since winning last year’s Australian Open. A 23-time major winner, she is hoping to join a select group of women who have won Grand Slams after becoming mothers.
Goerges advanced to the Wimbledon semi-finals for the first time with a 3-6, 7-5, 6-1 win against Dutch 20th seed Kiki Bertens.
Goerges had suffered five successive opening-round defeats at the All England Club before this year. It also took her until her 42nd Grand Slam appearance to finally get through to the last four at a major.
With Kerber also in the last four, it is the first time two German women have made the semi-finals of a Grand Slam since Steffi Graf and Anke Huber at the 1993 French Open.
Kerber takes on Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko in the other semi-final.
In the third round of the mixed doubles, Taiwan’s Latisha Chan and Ivan Dodig of Croatia took just 71 minutes to complete a 6-2, 7-6 (7/4) victory over Heather Watson of Britain and Henri Kontinen of Finland.
The third seeds did not face a single break point and converted two of five, winning 80 percent of the points contested on their second serve to advance to the quarter-final against either fifth seeds Chan Hao-ching, Latisha Chan’s younger sister, and Nikola Mektic of Croatia or ninth seeds Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia and Michael Venus of New Zealand.
Additional reporting by staff writer
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