LONDON, July 10: Serena Williams remains on the path for an eighth Wimbledon crown – and a 24th Grand Slam title – after beating Italy’s Camila Giorgi on Tuesday to reach the semifinals.
Williams, after dropping a set at the All England Club for the first time in this year’s tournament, rallied for a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win on Centre Court.
The 36-year-old Williams was absent from the All England Club in 2017 due to her pregnancy, and played her first Grand Slam since giving birth at the French Open last month when she reached fourth round.
On the other hand, eleventh seed Angelique Kerber reached the semifinals with a 6-3, 7-5 win over Russia’s Daria Kasatkina.
Two-time Grand Slam winner Kerber, the highest-ranked seed left in the women’s competition, dominated the first set as Kasatkina struggled with nerves.
Fourteenth seed Kasatkina, 21, grew in confidence but Kerber came through to win on her seventh match point.
The German, 30, will face Latvian 12th seed Jelena Ostapenko on Thursday after she beat Dominika Cibulkova 7-5, 6-4.
After taking the first set, Kerber broke to go 3-1 up in the second before Kasatkina levelled for 3-3 only for another double fault to put the German back in control.
The Russian, who thrilled the crowd with some superb returns and passing shots, broke back again for 4-4 but her opponent replied immediately.
With Kerber serving for a place in the last four, Kasatkina earned two break points with a forehand and levelled the scores before again failing to hold her serve.
Kasatkina then saved five match points before surviving yet another thanks to Hawkeye, with Kerber’s lob landing just beyond the baseline.
The 2016 Wimbledon runner-up finally won through to the semis when Kasatkina’s return found the net.
Earlier on Monday, Kei Nishikori became the first Japanese man in 23 years to reach the Wimbledon quarterfinals and then predicted a “war” with Novak Djokovic to get to the last four.
Nishikori, 28, overcame an arm injury to reach his first All England Club quarterfinal with a 4-6, 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (12/10), 6-1 win over Latvian qualifier Ernests Gulbis.
But having become the first Japanese man to reach the quarterfinals since Shuzo Matsuoka in 1995, Nishikori must now overturn a 13-2 career losing record against three-time champion Djokovic on Wednesday.
“He’s always like a big war for me. I always enjoy playing against him. It’s always a big challenge,” said Nishikori.
The Japanese player has already lost twice to the former world number one this year – on clay in Madrid and Rome.
Although the two have never met on grass, Nishikori is still hamstrung by the knowledge that the last of his two wins against the Serb was in 2014 in a memorable semifinal victory at the US Open.
“Maybe I don’t have good results or good record with him, but I always enjoy playing him.
“He’s one of the best players on the tour.”
Adding to Nishikori’s problems is a worrying right arm injury which required extensive treatment and a medical time-out in his win over world 130 Gulbis, the man who had put out fourth seed Alexander Zverev in the third round.
“My elbow was bothering me little bit,” admitted Nishikori.
“From the second, it got better and I just tried to stay calm and fight every game.” Djokovic, meanwhile, reached the quarterfinals for the 10th time with a 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 win over Russia’s Karen Khachanov.
Seeded 12, Wednesday will be Djokovic’s 41st appearance in a Grand Slam quarterfinal.
His match against Nishikori will fall on the first anniversary of him having to retire from his 2017 quarterfinal against Tomas Berdcyh with an elbow injury. That precipitated a lengthy absence from the tour and a worrying dip in form and confidence. – Agencies