Serena Williams continues to close in on a record-equalling 24th grand slam singles crown after advancing to her 11th Wimbledon semi-final
The American dug deep to deny Camila Giorgi a famous victory with a fighting 3-6 6-3 6-4 quarter-final comeback win over unseeded Italian on Tuesday.
Contesting just her fourth tournament after taking more than a year out of tennis for the birth of her first child, the 181st-ranked Williams will play German 13th seed Julia Goerges for a place in this weekend’s final.
Goerges also battled back from a set down to beat Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens 3-6 7-5 6-1 in the last of the women’s quarter-finals.
Friday’s other semi-final will also feature a German, two-time grand slam champion Angelique Kerber, against 2017 French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia.
Ostapenko is within sight of a second grand slam crown in 13 months after surging into the Wimbledon semi-finals for the first time.
The 21-year-old 12th seed ended Dominika Cibulkova’s inspired run with a 7-5 6-4 win before Kerber outclassed Russian 14th seed Daria Kasatkina 6-3 7-5.
Rebounding from her shock first-round elimination in her Roland Garros title defence, Ostapenko has marched through the Wimbledon draw without dropping a set.
“I was down in the first set but I kept fighting. I’m fighting to the end and it helps me, gives me more confidence,” said the youngest player left in the draw.
“It was a very tough match but I was just trying to enjoy it. I’m happy to be in the second week, quarter-finals and now the semi-finals.”
Runner-up at The All England Club two years ago, as well as winning the 2016 Australian Open and US Open crowns, Kerber looks on a mission to atone for a disappointing season in the slams in 2017.
The German struck 33 winners to Kasatkina’s 16 to move through in one hour, 29 minutes.
Kerber and Ostapenko have never clashed before but the showdown ensures a grand slam champion will make the final.
“I don’t care who I am playing against. We are here in the semis and they are all tough opponents and you have to play at your best,” Kerber said.
With no top-10 seeds making the quarter-finals for the first time in Wimbledon history, 11th-seeded Kerber is the highest-ranked player left in the hunt for the Venus Rosewater Dish.