Serena, Halep, Strycova, Svitolina for Wimbledon semifinals
Serena Williams survived a determined challenge by compatriot Alison Riske with a 6/4, 4/6, 6/3 victory on Centre Court and moved closer to her quest for a record-tying 24th Grand Slam title.
On the day for the ladies’ quarterfinals, Simona Halep, the highest seeded player remaining in the draw, defeated China’s Shuai Zhang 7/6 (4), 6/1 and Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina defatted Karolina Muchova of Czech Republic 7/5, 6/4.
Barbora Strycova ended home country hopeful Johanna Konta, 7/5, 6/1.
Serena powered 19 aces with just two double faults in a demonstration of service prowess. She registered 60 per cent of first serves and won most of the games played after.
The closeness of the encounter was evident in the many break opportunities each player had. Alison won all the five games on which she had a break point but Serena converted only six of sixteen. Had she won more games when she had break points, the match would not have lasted three sets.
Serena won 54 points on her serve, while her opponent made 51 points although she had only one ace serve and committed six double faults. At the finish line, Serena amassed 96 points to Alison’s 86
Elina Svitolina served for the match at 5-2, but lost her serve. Karolina Muchova seized the lifeline by taking the first point of the eighth game. She dropped the second point but raved to 40 to 15 game point, but got deuced. She got the first advantage, but was decided and held the ninth game on the second opportunity. Serving for the match, Svitolina dropped the first point but leveled at 30-all, then reached 40-30. This time, she closed out the set and match 6/4.
Johanna Konta and Barbora Strycova battled to six games apiece in the first set. In the tiebreak, Konta dropped the first point on serve for a mini-break and her opponent also dropped a point in her serve for two points apiece.
Konta dropped the fourth point but two consecutive points led to three points each at changeover. Although Barbora took the seventh point, Johanna held her service to lead five points to four. The Czech won her next two service points to reach set point, which Konta lost on her serve.
Strycova won her serve for the first game of the second set and broke Konta’s serve to lead 2-0. Riding the momentum, the Czech lady sped to 30-0 with her fourth ace of the match. She dropped only one point en route to taking the third game. Konta held serve for the fourth game.
In the fifth game, Barbora sped to 30-0, 30-15, 40-15, 40-30; and game for 4-1. Johanna led 40-15 but was taken to deuce.
The British lady got the first advantage but lost it. Barbora secured the next game opportunity and lost but she took the game on the second opportunity to lead 5-1. Serving for the match, Strycova reached 40-30 and closed out the game and set 6/1. She was through to the semi-finals for the first time in her career.
Serena Williams will face Barbora Strycova in the semifinals while Simona Halep will face Elina Svitolina.