What do you get when you combine 120mph serves, velvet drop shots and skirts? A woman almost impossible to beat on grass. The outgoing champion Petra Kvitova was the latest to stand in the Serena Williams coconut shy and wither. She described her Centre Court experience yesterday as "big difficult". We knew what she meant.
Perhaps now that her title has gone, Kvitova will understand better what she had. Her season as Wimbledon champion has been a learning experience like no other. She is the only member of the women's top 10 not to have won a title this year. "I'm sorry to leave in the chorus line but I have something to build on," Kvitova said.
Williams is two victories from a fifth Wimbledon crown and 14 Grand Slam titles. And at 30 years old, there is no obvious sign of a diminution of her athletic attributes. She is the embodiment of Wimbledon's warrior queen, a woman to follow into the fire. Kvitova was smoked 6-3, 7-5. She left nothing on the court. Every ounce of her competitive fibre was deployed in this quarter-final.
The baseline scramble with Kvitova dominating game point at 3-3 on serve in the second set was quintessential Williams; falling over, getting up, contriving a shot of sorts, sprinting to get her racket on the incoming missile. Williams lost the point and the game, but the effort expended by Kvitova to win it cost her any chance of contesting the next. In the blink of an eye the ball was back in Kvitova's hand and so the cycle repeated.
Kvitova had to wait an hour before fashioning a break point. It coincided with set point. Williams blasted her response to the affront. Deuce. Two points later it was "Game, Ms Williams", the final point decided in part by a shot rifled straight at her.
After firing three more aces to close out the match, Williams said: "I had nothing to lose. I am enjoying every minute of this. My goal is to win two more matches in this tournament."
The first of those two potential tests will come against the world No 2 Victoria Azarenka, who saw off Tamira Paszek of Austria 6-3, 7-6 to reach the last four for the second year in a row. On the other side of the draw, Angelique Kerber beat Sabine Lisicki 6-3, 6-7, 7-5 in a thrilling German derby. Her opponent will be Agnieszka Radwanska who defeated Russia's Maria Kirilenko 7-5, 4-6, 7-5 in the last match played yesterday.