Serena Williams held off fellow American Alison Riske to reach the Wimbledon semifinals on Tuesday, notching her 97th victory at the historic tournament with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 triumph.
“I just needed to fight,” said Serena. “Alison, I mean, she played great throughout the whole tournament. She’s beaten so many amazing players, players that have had great years. She was not giving it to me. I needed to step up and take it. That’s what I had to do.”
And she did just that. After her and Riske traded the first two sets, and the opening games of the deciding third set, Serena won the match’s final three games from 3-3 in the final frame to knock off Riske and secure her spot in the Wimbledon semifinals for the 12th time in her career.
It was a cleanly played match overall, as Serena hit 49 winners to 27 unforced errors while Riske had 25 winners to 18 unforced errors. The difference was in the match’s final three games when Serena pulled away.
“This is the first time since Australia that I actually felt, like, good. It’s been a really, really long year for me already, and hard year, because I’m usually not typically injured,” said Serena. “I don’t know where I am, but I do know I feel good. Now that I feel good, I can actually focus on training and technique and practice, something that I just literally haven’t been able to do a lot of.”
In the semifinals, Serena will take on Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic, who moved into the first major semifinal of her career with a 7-6(5), 6-1 win over 19th seed Johanna Konta.