Nick Bollettieri: Turn on, tune in, hit out... Serena v Kvitova is going to be a blast!

Wimbledon Files: It's a Williams mantra: run hard for every ball. Kvitova is a chaser too

Wow! What a day that was in the woman's draw. It really brought it to life and you know what? Today could be even better. For all the efforts of Maria Sharapova's conqueror, Sabine Lisciki – what a girl! – it's the prospect of Serena Williams against Petra Kvitova that really catches my eye.

This is going to be a battle royal; one of Wimbledon's greats against the reigning champion. Do not for one single moment underestimate the desire of Serena, for all she has done on the court and for all that has happened to her off it, to win Wimbledon again. And again, for that matter. Man, that heart still beats strong.

We saw that yesterday, when she beat Yaroslava Shvedova 6-1, 2-6, 7-5. She did not play at her best, she had some luck – that winning lob for one – but she goddamn won and that's all that matters. Serena knows she has to improve areas. She admitted that afterwards.

"If this was my best then I'm in trouble," she said. Don't worry Serena, that wasn't your best – and you know that too. I said right here after her first-round win over Barbora Strycova that she would be sticking around deep into the second week and I'm sticking to my guns. Today, though, will be a big test.

Serena was the last person to beat Kvitova at Wimbledon, in the semis in 2010, and Kvitova has become a better player since – she wouldn't be the defending champion otherwise. Kvitova said yesterday that semi was a big lesson for her – she has done her homework real well.

The advantage for Serena is that Kvitova plays only one way – she comes right at you, pow, pow, pow. Being a leftie as well brings a different line of attack. But Serena has the experience to deal with that. What she must not do when Kvitova comes at her is retreat. Do not drop back, Serena.

So much of her game is about power too – this could be an almighty slug-fest – and what makes the difference to Serena is if she stands strong on the baseline. If she does that, and does not allow herself to slip back, and takes the ball early, then it will be tough for Kvitova.

To a degree, Serena's match yesterday out on a windy No 2 Court was a good warm-up for today. Shvedova is another of these big hitters who throws herself at the ball and has a swing. We don't always know where it's going to end up (nor does she) when she winds up one of those big hits – and that is very like Kvitova's approach to the game.

Shvedova did well to come back after a one-sided opening set when Serena reeled off those big serves in between hitting some equally big returns back at Shvedova's serve. That final set lasted nearly an hour and it says everything about how that desire is still there in Serena. Don't doubt it, guys. This is her home from home.

Kvitova had a tough match against Francesca Schiavone. It was difficult in those conditions – the wind, the damp – but she kept her mind in the right place when her game was not at its best and pulled herself through. Schiavone has the heart of a lion and ran her hard but today is going to be so, so different.

Williams will run down every ball – that's the way Richard Williams taught his girls to play. It's a Williams mantra: run hard, run for every ball. Kvitova is a chaser too. Williams has the best serve in the women's game but the key area of this match should be how she returns the leftie serve of Kvitova.

There were moments against Shvedova when the return was booming and if that happens this afternoon she will have another semi-final place in her sights.

 



Today's big match: Serena Williams v Petra Kvitova

HOW THEY MATCH UP

US Nationality Czech

30 Age 22

Palm Beach, US Residence Fulnek, Cz Rep

Right-handed Plays Left-handed

5ft 9in Height 6ft 0in

6 World ranking 4

41 Career titles 7

$36m Career prize-money $7.4m

62-9 Wimbledon record 17-3

Winner x4 Wimbledon best Winner 2011

2 Head-to-head 0

3-5 Odds 13-10

Bollettieri's prediction: Williams in three sets

Suggested Topics
Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
tvThe Apprentice 2014 final
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor winner Ben Haenow has scored his first Christmas number one
music
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
news
News
Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special
tv
News
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
News
Claudia Winkleman and co-host Tess Daly at the Strictly Come Dancing final
people
Extras
indybest
News
peopleLiam Williams posted photo of himself dressed as Wilfried Bony
Sport
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick