WIMBLEDON, England – Thanks to a bunch of aces from her big serve, Serena Williams is back in the Wimbledon semifinals.
With two more victories, Williams will be holding a Grand Slam trophy for the first time in two years.
The thud of racket-against-ball reverberating under the closed Centre Court roof, Williams smacked 13 aces at up to 120 mph and overpowered defending champion Petra Kvitova 6-3, 7-5 in the quarterfinals Tuesday at the All England Club.
The 30-year-old Williams, bidding to become the first woman at least that age to win a major title since Martina Navratilova at Wimbledon in 1990, turned in her best performance of the tournament against her most difficult opponent. After being stretched to 9-7 and 7-5 third sets against less-accomplished women in the two previous rounds, the No. 6-seeded Williams was on top of things from the get-go against No. 4 Kvitova.
“You can’t play a defending Wimbledon champion or Grand Slam champion and not elevate your game,” said Williams, who produced 27 winners and only 10 unforced errors. “I had to weed out the riffraff and just get serious.”
Kvitova had won 16 of her last 17 matches at Wimbledon, including 11 in a row since a loss to Williams in the 2010 semifinals. Two days later, Williams went on to win the championship – her fourth at Wimbledon, her 13th at a Grand Slam tournament and her most recent to date.
On Thursday, Williams will play No. 2 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, the reigning Australian Open champion, who defeated unseeded Tamira Paszek 6-3, 7-6 (4) to reach the Wimbledon semifinals for the second straight year. The other semi will be No. 3 Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland against No. 8 Angelique Kerber of Germany. Radwanska beat No. 17 Maria Kirilenko 7-5, 4-6, 7-5, while Kerber defeated No. 15 Sabine Lisicki 6-3, 6-7 (7), 7-5.
More rain is forecast today when the men’s quarterfinals are No. 1 Novak Djokovic vs. No. 31 Florian Mayer; No. 3 Roger Federer vs. Mikhail Youzhny; No. 4 Andy Murray vs. No. 7 David Ferrer; and No. 5 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs. No. 27 Philipp Kohlschreiber.