Ser­ena sets sights on 8th Wim­ble­don ti­tle

Former No.1 to face 13th seed Ju­lia Go­erges in semi­fi­nals

Global Times US Edition - - SPORTS -

As Ser­ena Wil­liams pre­pares for her 35th Grand Slam semi­fi­nal, the Amer­i­can star says a fear of fail­ure is driv­ing her bid for an eighth Wim­ble­don ti­tle.

Wil­liams avoided a ma­jor up­set on Tues­day as the former world No.1 bat­tled back to beat un­seeded Camila Giorgi 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in a Cen­ter Court thriller.

The 36-year-old’s quar­ter­fi­nal es­cape act set up a last-four show­down with Ger­man 13th seed Ju­lia Go­erges on Thurs­day.

Wil­liams hasn’t won a Grand Slam since the birth of daugh­ter Olympia in Septem­ber and her last tro­phy came at the 2017 Aus­tralian Open.

“You’re only as good as your last win. It’s been a while since I’ve won a cham­pi­onship,” Wil­liams said.

But the 23-time ma­jor win­ner is heav­ily fa­vored to end her wait this week, fu­eled by the thought of suf­fer­ing the painful sting left by her rare de­feats.

“I hate los­ing. I mean, that’s no se­cret. But I feel like ev­ery time I lose, I get bet­ter,” she said.

“It’s im­por­tant for me to have the losses. Just the fewer the bet­ter for me!”

Wil­liams is play­ing only her fourth tour­na­ment since be­com­ing a mother for the first time.

Hav­ing shaken off the rust fol­low­ing her lengthy lay­off af­ter the com­pli­ca­tions with Olympia’s birth, Wil­liams is on the verge of a 10th Wim­ble­don fi­nal ap­pear­ance and 30th in all four Grand Slams.

“Ev­ery­thing right now is a lit­tle bit of a sur­prise, to be here, to be in the semi­fi­nals,” she said.

“I al­ways say I plan on it. But when it ac­tu­ally hap­pens, it still is, like, ‘Wow, this is re­ally hap­pen­ing.’”

With Olympia’s ar­rival and her mar­riage to hus­band Alexis both tak­ing place since Wil­liams was last at Wim­ble­don, this year’s cam­paign has a unique feel.

“It’s dif­fer­ent now ob­vi­ously be­cause I have the baby. Be­ing a mom is to­tally dif­fer­ent,” she said.

“I just want to be more of that role model for my daugh­ter, for lots of peo­ple out there that just want to be in­spired.

“Here is some good news. Right now there’s so much bad news in the world. We just need a good story.”

Hav­ing won the ti­tle in the pre­vi­ous two years she played Wim­ble­don in 2015 and 2016, Wil­liams, who missed last year’s tour­na­ment due to her preg­nancy, has ex­tended her win­ning streak at the All Eng­land Club to 19 matches.

In con­trast, Go­erges is in the Wim­ble­don semi­fi­nals for the first time.

The 29-year-old had suf­fered five suc­ces­sive open­ing round de­feats at the All Eng­land Club be­fore this year.

It also took her un­til her 42nd Grand Slam ap­pear­ance to fi­nally get through to the last four at a ma­jor.

Yet Go­erges in­sists she can cause an mas­sive up­set against Wil­liams.

An­gelique Ker­ber, the Ger­man 11th seed, faces former French Open cham­pion Je­lena Ostapenko in the other semi­fi­nal.

Ostapenko strug­gled with the pres­sure of de­fend­ing her maiden Grand Slam ti­tle, los­ing in the first round of the re­cent French Open.

But that lifted a weight off her shoul­ders at the All Eng­land Club, where she has be­come the first Lat­vian to make a Wim­ble­don semi­fi­nal.

Photo: VCG

Ser­ena Wil­liams cel­e­brates a point in her quar­ter­fi­nal match against Camila Giorgi on Tues­day at Wim­ble­don.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.