Serena Williams faces Victoria Azarenka semi-final

 

Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka set up a mouthwatering semi-final clash at Wimbledon as both women powered through their quarter-final matches under the Centre Court roof today.

Williams sent defending champion Petra Kvitova packing in one the most eagerly-anticipated clashes of the tournament so far before second seed Azarenka dispatched Austrian Tamira Paszek in straight sets.

Four-time champion Williams turned on the style on her debut under the Centre Court roof to out-muscle her Czech opponent in a 6-3 7-5 win.

The 30-year-old American used her powerful serve to great effect in the match, sending down 13 aces and winning 86% of her first-serve points in her best performance in the tournament so far.

Williams revealed a pre-match pep-talk from her dad and sister Venus had inspired her to victory against the Czech fourth seed.

"I had a good talk with my dad, he motivated me, and my sister as well," Williams said.

"I had a talk with Patrick (Mouratoglou - Williams' coach) too. It was great. All three of those got me really motivated to do better and be the player that I know I can be.

"I just took to heart what everyone said. I really prayed about it, just to have calmness of mind and just go forward and do the best I can do, whether that's winning or losing."

Kvitova admitted Williams is now her pick to win the championship following her dominant display.

"I think so," the 22-year-old said, when asked if Williams was now the tip to win the tournament.

"I think I didn't play badly, but she just served very well and that was the big difference.

"I can't say it's impossible to beat her because she's human, but I think that's why she is a great champion, because she knows what she needs to play the important points.

"I think it's really tough to beat her."

Meanwhile, Azarenka saw off Paszek thanks to a second set tie-break after the Austrian fired long on match point to win 6-3 7-6 (7/4).

Azarenka said: "The games were really close. At the beginning of the second set we were really holding our serves well.

"It was a close match and there were a lot of long rallies but I'm glad I could manage to win.

"It's a great feeling to be in the semi-final of a grand slam but I still want to go all the way and it still seems so far away.

"There's no better opponent than Serena in the semi-finals so I'm really looking forward to that match."

Eighth seed Angelique Kerber booked her place in the last four with a hard-fought win over fellow German Sabine Lisicki.

Kerber claimed a 6-3 6-7 (9/7) 7-5 win over Maria Sharapova's conqueror after two-and-a-half hours to reach her first Wimbledon semi-final.

It was a rollercoaster battle, and Kerber looked like she had blown her chance when she missed three match points in the second set and then trailed 5-3 in the decider.

But Lisicki faltered when serving for the match and eighth seed Kerber reeled off four games in a row to triumph under the Centre Court roof.

Kerber said: "It's unbelievable, the match was so tough. Suddenly she played unbelievable tennis. I'm very happy to be in the semis here for the first time.

"We have known each other from a young age and it was mentally not easy, but it doesn't matter who you play, you have to play your best and I stuck to my plan and played a very good match I think."

PA

BUY WIMBLEDON TICKETS

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border