Serena fights back to join former slam winners in Wimbledon semis

Darren Walton
Serena fights back to join former slam winners in Wimbledon semis

Hungry as ever, Serena Williams expressed huge relief after surviving her first scare of the tournament to remain firmly on track for an eighth Wimbledon women's singles crown - and first as a mother.

"I hate losing. That's no secret," the 23-times major winner said after digging deep to deny Camila Giorgi a famous victory with a rousing 3-6 6-3 6-4 quarter-final comeback win over the unseeded Italian.

Contesting just her fourth tournament following 16 months of maternity leave either side of the birth of daughter Alexis Olympia last September, Williams will play German 13th seed Julia Goerges in her 11th semi-final at The All England Club on Thursday.

"Everything right now is a little bit of a surprise," the American said.

"To be here, to be in the semi-finals ... I mean, I always say I plan on it, I would like to be there, have these goals.

"But when it actually happens, it still is, like, 'Wow, this is really happening'.

"It's different now, obviously, because I have the baby."

Triumphant in her two previous Wimbledon tilts in 2015 and 2016, Williams's victory also extended her winning streak on the London grass to 19 matches.

The 36-year-old is now just two more from also matching Margaret Court's all-time record of 24 grand slam singles titles.

Serena Williams. Pic: Getty

Goerges is at the other end of the spectrum, preparing for her maiden major semi-final after also recovering from a set down to beat Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens 3-6 7-5 6-1.

Incredibly, Goerges had won only five matches in 10 previous visits to The All England Club - and none in the past five years - before arriving last week.

"I don't have many words today to describe the moment I'm going through right now. It's pretty unreal for me at the moment to get to that stage at a grand slam," the 29-year-old said.

"It's been obviously always a dream for every player, to be in a semis in Wimbledon.

"But I'm just very glad the way I handled everything today because it wasn't an easy match at all. It was quite tough.

"I was maybe the better player in the first set but didn't actually take the chances I would have loved to take, but still found a way to somehow come back and close out that match."

Winless in three previous meetings with Williams, including last month in Paris, Goerges could face compatriot Angelique Kerber in the first-ever all-German women's grand slam final if she somehow fashions a way to turn the tables.

Kerber, the former world No.1 and runner-up to Williams in 2016, plays Latvia's 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in Thursday's second semi-final after outclassing Russian 14th seed Daria Kasatkina 6-3 7-5.

Ostapenko, the 12th seed, overpowered Slovak Dominika Cibulkova 7-5 6-4 to reach Wimbledon's final four for the first time, and without dropping a set.


"I was down in the first set but I kept fighting. I'm fighting to the end and it helps me, gives me more confidence," said the youngest player left in the draw.

"I don't feel any pressure. Probably because at the French Open a couple weeks ago I had so much pressure. It's now all gone. I'm just enjoying the moment."

Kerber, runner-up at the All England Club two years ago, as well as the 2016 Australian Open and US Open winner, looks on a mission to atone for a disappointing season in the slams in 2017.

"She's great player. It's going to be a battle. It's going to be a tough match," Ostapenko said.

"But I'm going to prepare well for it, going to be probably long rallies. I have to be very confident, aggressive, and consistent."


12-Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) v 11-Angelique Kerber (GER)

13-Julia Goerges (GER) v 25-Serena Williams (USA)