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

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.

Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash
I would never quit Labour, says Liz Kendall

I would never quit party, says Liz Kendall

Latest on the Labour leadership contest
Froome seals second Tour de France victory

Never mind Pinot, it’s bubbly for Froome

Second Tour de France victory all but sealed
Oh really? How the 'lowest form of wit' makes people brighter and more creative

The uses of sarcasm

'Lowest form of wit' actually makes people brighter and more creative
A magazine editor with no vanity, and lots of flair

No vanity, but lots of flair

A tribute to the magazine editor Ingrid Sischy
Foraging: How the British rediscovered their taste for chasing after wild food

In praise of foraging

How the British rediscovered their taste for wild food