Friday 21 September 2018

Serena Williams survives scare against Camila Giorgi to make last four at Wimbledon

Serena Williams reacts against Italy's Camila Giorgi
Serena Williams reacts against Italy's Camila Giorgi

Jonathan Veal

Serena Williams overcame the toughest test yet of her Wimbledon comeback to reach the semi-finals.

The seven-time champion, who missed the tournament last year, was outplayed by Italian Camila Giorgi in the first set but rallied to win 3-6 6-3 6-4 on Centre Court.

Having lifted the title in the last two years she played here, in 2015 and 2016, this quarter-final success takes Williams' winning streak at the All England Club to 19 matches.

It also proved beyond doubt that she is the woman to beat in the women's draw, despite this being just her fourth tournament back since giving birth last September.

She will now meet Julia Goerges in Thursday's semi-final to play for a place in a 10th Wimbledon final.

Giorgi, the pocket-sized Italian who is ranked 52nd in the world, has been one of the surprise packages of the tournament, getting to her first grand slam quarter-final with some line-painting attacking ground strokes and a potent first serve.

The 26-year-old, whose fashion designer mother makes her outfits, said in the build-up to the game that she did not know anything about Williams' game as she has no interest in tennis when not playing.

She quickly worked out a way to hurt the 23-time grand slam champion and it was not just her clothes that were eye-catching as some impressive serving and a barrage of cross-court forehands saw her dominate.

A mixture of sizzling winners and forced errors gave her a break to lead 4-2 and then, after saving four break-back points in the next game, she served the first set out.

Williams, who had rapper Drake as part of her entourage, had to survive a 0-30 service game early in the second set and that was a defining moment in the match as she soon took command by breaking Giorgi, which proved enough to decide the second set.

Giorgi was unable to affect the match in the same way as she did at the start and the writing was on the wall when Williams opened up an early lead in the decider.

The Italian refused to wilt, forcing Williams to serve it out, but that was no problem as she moved to just two wins away from an eighth Wimbledon crown.

Williams, though, is not allowing herself to think about that possibility yet.

"I am OK, I feel good, I feel like I did better today, I had to," she said.

"But this is only my fourth tournament back, I don't feel pressure, I don't feel I have to win this, I don't feel I have to lose this. I am just here to be here and prove I am back.

"I feel like I am back, I still have a long way to where I was."

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