|ESPN.com: Wimbledon 2012||[Print without images]|
“On Thursday, Williams will play No. 2 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, the reigning Australian Open champion, who defeated unseeded Tamira Paszek 6-3, 7-6 (4) under the roof at night to reach the Wimbledon semifinals for the second straight year. The other semifinal will be No. 3 Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland against No. 8 Angelique Kerber of Germany. A little before 10 p.m. on Centre Court, Radwanska finished her 7-5, 4-6, 7-5 victory over No. 17 Maria Kirilenko -- whose boyfriend, two-time NHL MVP Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals, was in the stands. Earlier, the match was forced off Court 1 because of showers, tied 4-all in the third set. "Today was for me, like, 40 hours," Radwanska said after reaching her first Grand Slam semifinal. "I was on and off all the time, waiting pretty much all day." Kerber was a 6-3, 6-7 (7), 7-5 winner over No. 15 Sabine Lisicki in an all-German matchup. Lisicki saved three match points in the second set, but then let a 5-3 lead slip away in the third against Kerber, also a semifinalist at last year's U.S. Open. Williams owns, by far, the best resume of any woman in action Tuesday. She was participating in her 33rd major quarterfinal; the other seven players have been in a total of 29. Not surprisingly, Kvitova expects Williams to win the title. Asked how difficult it is for anyone to beat Williams when she plays the way she did Saturday, the Czech replied: "It is big difficult." Impossible? "I can't say 'impossible.' She's human," Kvitova said. Both played impressive grass-court tennis, hitting powerfully, serving well and returning dangerously. Williams simply was superior doing all of it. After losing the first two points of the match, Williams buckled down and took 20 of 23 on her serve in the rest of that set. Kvitova hung tough in the second, though, yelping louder to punctuate winners. Then came a key moment, with Kvitova ahead 5-4 and Williams serving at 30-all. Kvitova whipped a cross-court backhand winner to earn her only break point of the day. But Williams delivered a 109-mph serve, and Kvitova's backhand return slapped against the net's white tape. From there, Kvitova shanked a forehand off her frame, and Williams hit a volley winner after both wound up at the net. In the next game, with Kvitova serving at 5-all, 30-love, she fell apart, making four consecutive miscues. The last, which gave Williams a break and a 6-5 lead, was the most egregious, a forehand into the net off a floated return. That gave Williams a chance to serve it out. Did she ever. The four points she won, each serve loud on impact: 117-mph ace, 117-mph ace, 116-mph ace, 113-mph service winner. "I loved the sound. It was really cool. I've never played under the roof," Williams said. "It's kind of like a -whoosh' and a -pop.' ... It's almost like a video game, but you're playing. It kind of flies through and you hear it when it lands."
You can't play a defending Wimbledon champion or Grand Slam champion and not elevate your game. I had to weed out the riffraff and just get serious.” -- Serena Williams