Serena Williams faces Victoria Azarenka semi-final
Tuesday 03 July 2012
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."
Arsenal transfer news: Arsene Wenger 'optimistic' of making signing, Grzegorz Krychowiak and Edinson Cavani linked
Manchester United have two days to seal the transfer of the summer, Arsenal need to panic, Jose Mourinho right to blast Chelsea reluctance
Celtic supporters mock Fenerbahce fans' threatening 'knife' pictures with their own versions - featuring spoons and bananas
Swansea 2 Manchester United 1 player ratings: Was Andre Ayew the Swans' star man or did Bafetimbi Gomis steal the show?
Anthony Martial to Manchester United: United 'open talks' with £36m Monaco striker as Javier Hernandez joins Bayer Leverkusen
- 1 VMAs 2015: Was Nicki Minaj and Miley Cyrus' awkward acceptance put-down real or staged?
- 2 If you're not already angry about the migrant crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
- 3 Rules on 5p plastic bags likely to lead to arguments at the check-out
- 4 Chaos breaks out in courtroom as father attacks killer of three-year-old daughter
- 5 Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
UN investigating British Government over human rights abuses caused by IDS welfare reforms