LONDON — There are moments in which nothing at all seems different about Serena Williams, moments such as when she unleashed a 109 mph service winner to even her Wimbledon quarterfinal at a set apiece, leaned forward and yelled, loudly as can be, “Cooome ooon!”
Or when, about 10 minutes later, she stretched for a lunging backhand winner to break at love and take control of the third set, then raised a fist, figuring a berth in her 11th semifinal at the All England Club was close at hand.
And after Williams came up with a comeback to beat 52nd-ranked Camila Giorgi of Italy 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 on Tuesday, she headed off Centre Court with her right index finger aloft. Yes, no matter what the rankings or seedings say, no matter how long she was away, Williams still looks capable of playing like someone who’s No. 1, just about 10 months after having a baby.
“Everything right now is a little bit of a surprise. To be here. To be in the semifinals. I mean, I always say I plan on it, I would like to be there, have these goals,” Williams said. “But when it actually happens, it still is, like, ‘Wow, this is really happening.’”
So what if she’s still getting her game in gear?
So what if Giorgi wouldn’t seem to miss while moving out to that early lead?
Williams never was worried about losing.
“It’s weird. Sometimes I feel, ‘Man, I’m in trouble.’ Sometimes I feel, ‘I can fight.’ For whatever reason, today I was so calm,” said 36-year-old American, who has been wearing compression leggings as a precaution after a blood-clot scare following her daughter’s birth. “Even when I was down the first set, I thought, ‘Well, she’s playing great. I’m doing a lot of the right things.’”
Next up for Williams as she tries to earn her eighth title at the All England Club and 24th Grand Slam trophy overall will be a match Thursday against No. 13 seed Julia Goerges of Germany, a 3-6, 7-5, 6-1 winner against No. 20 Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands.
“It’s pretty unreal for me,” said Goerges, who reached her first major semifinal at a tournament where she exited in the first round each of the past five years.
Kerber to play in her 3rd Wimbledon semifinal
Angelique Kerber reached her third Wimbledon semifinal after converting her seventh match point to beat Daria Kasatkina 6-3, 7-5 on Tuesday, setting up a meeting with former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko.
Ostapenko became the first Latvian woman to make the last four at the All England Club with a 7-5, 6-4 victory over Dominika Cibulkova on a windy No. 1 Court.
Kerber, the former No. 1 and two-time major champion who was the runner-up at Wimbledon two years ago, took advantage of Kasatkina’s erratic serving and many errors to return to the last four. Kasatkina finished with seven double-faults, including one on break point in the second game and then two straight to hand Kerber a 5-3 lead in the first set — halting her momentum just after breaking to get back on serve with the help of one of the best rallies of the match.
Ostapenko was very efficient in her match, serving her match out at love and converting her first match point with her 14th backhand winner.
Ostapenko was the aggressor throughout, hitting 33 winners to Cibulkova’s six, but also hitting 28 unforced errors to 13 for her opponent. She repeatedly went for winners on her service returns, a strategy that helped her break Cibulkova five times.