Serena Williams overpowers defending champ Kvitova

WIMBLEDON, England — Thanks to a bit of advice from her big sister and a bunch of aces from her big serve, Serena Williams is back in the Wimbledon semifinals.

WIMBLEDON, England — Thanks to a bit of advice from her big sister and a bunch of aces from her big serve, Serena Williams is back in the Wimbledon semifinals.

With two more victories, Williams will be holding a Grand Slam trophy for the first time in two years.

The thud of racket-against-ball reverberating under the closed Centre Court roof, Williams smacked 13 aces at up to 120 mph and overpowered defending champion Petra Kvitova 6-3, 7-5 in the quarterfinals Tuesday at the All England Club.

Beforehand, Williams’ father and coach, Richard, asked his other title-winning daughter to relay some suggestions.

“I went and had Venus talk to her, because Venus can get (through) to Serena better than anyone in the world.

“So I told Venus, ’I’m not going to talk to her. You talk to her.’ So Venus went and talked to her. When the match was over, I told her, ‘Venus: Good coaching! Good coaching!”’ Dad said after snapping photos of Serena’s victory from his front-row perch in the guest box above a scoreboard.

“I wanted Serena to move her feet a little bit more and to not concentrate on what the girl’s doing, but concentrate exactly on what she wished to do,” he continued.

“And that was the only message.”

Consider it delivered.

The 30-year-old Williams, bidding to become the first woman at least that age to win a major title since Martina Navratilova at Wimbledon in 1990, turned in her best performance of the tournament against her most difficult opponent.

After being stretched to 9-7 and 7-5 third sets against less-accomplished women in the two previous rounds, the No. 6-seeded Williams was on top of things from the get-go against No. 4 Kvitova.

“You can’t play a defending Wimbledon champion or Grand Slam champion and not elevate your game,” said Williams, who produced 27 winners and only 10 unforced errors.

“I had to weed out the riffraff and just get serious.”

Kvitova had won 16 of her last 17 matches at Wimbledon, including 11 in a row since a loss to Williams in the 2010 semifinals.

Two days later, Williams went on to win the championship — her fourth at Wimbledon, her 13th at a Grand Slam tournament and her most recent to date.

Within a week, Williams cut her feet on glass at a restaurant, leading to a series of health problems, including being hospitalized for clots in her lungs, then the removal of a pocket of blood under the skin on her stomach.

“No one tries to have ups and downs. Some things happen sometimes, and you have absolutely no control over it,” said Williams, whose only first-round loss in 48 Grand Slam tournaments came at the French Open in late May.

“So I think it’s how you recover from that, and how you handle the downs even more than the ups can really (reveal your) character.”

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 Tuesday, 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.”

With more rain in the forecast, the roof could be shut again Wednesday, when the men’s quarterfinals are No. 1 Novak Djokovic vs. No. 31 Florian Mayer, No. 3 Roger Federer vs. Mikhail Youzhny, No. 4 Andy Murray vs. No. 7 David Ferrer, and No. 5 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs. No. 27 Philipp Kohlschreiber.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer RCMP say a 30-year-old man faces sexual charges against a teen. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Innisfail RCMP arrest man following ‘lengthy pursuit’

Innisfail RCMP say a “lengthy pursuit” through a rural area ended with… Continue reading

Red Deer South MLA Jason Stephan speaks in the Alberta Legislature on Wednesday in this image from his Facebook page.
Red Deer MLA Jason Stephan sounds off on socialism in anti-lockdown speech

Red Deer-South MLA Jason Stephan has applauded his government’s COVID-19 response, saying… Continue reading

(Photo by Paul Cowley/ Advocate Staff)
Mask bylaws not popular in rural areas

Red Deer and Blackfalds bylaws requiring masks in public places kick in on Monday

A GoFundMe campaign to support a Stettler couple following a fire has raised more than $3,000. (Contributed photo)
Family pet dies in Stettler fire

GoFundMe page has raised more than $3K so far

Canadian Olympic gymnast and National Sport School alumni Kyle Shewfelt announces his retirement in Calgary, Thursday, May 21, 2009. Calgary's board of education will close the National Sport School that has produced Olympic and Paralympic champions for 26 years. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Calgary’s National Sport School to close, looks to join a different school division

Calgary’s National Sport School to close, looks to join a different school division

Canada's Erica Wiebe, left, celebrates after defeating Nigeria's Blessing Onyebuchi, right on the ground, to win Gold medal in women's FS 76Kg wrestling at the Commonwealth Games on Gold Coast, Australia, Thursday, April 12, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Manish Swarup
Canada’s Olympic champion wrestler Erica Wiebe eyes return to competition

Canada’s Olympic champion wrestler Erica Wiebe eyes return to competition

Louisiana-Lafayette running back Elijah Mitchell (15) is tackled by Coastal Carolina linebacker Enock Makonzo (43) and safety Cameron Mitchell (49) during the first half of an NCAA football game in Lafayette, La., Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. It's already been a season to remember but Canadian Enock Makonzo and the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers will chase two more firsts Saturday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Paul Kieu
Canadian Enock Makonzo, Chanticleers chase Sun Belt East regular-season crown

Canadian Enock Makonzo, Chanticleers chase Sun Belt East regular-season crown

Atlanta United's Mo Adams, right, challenges Toronto FC's Alejandro Pozuelo during first half MLS soccer action in East Hartford, Conn., Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020. Toronto FC's Alejandro Pozuelo says he finished the season with an injured leg. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Jessica Hill
Toronto FC ready to refocus on future as long, hard season comes to an end

Toronto FC ready to refocus on future as long, hard season comes to an end

Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu and Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart speak to the media during a visit to the Molson Overdose Prevention Site in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, Thursday, January 16, 2020. City councillors in Vancouver voted unanimously this week to ask federal officials for an exemption to Canada's Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, a decision advocates hope will blaze a trail for the decriminalization of small amounts of illicit drugs for personal use in other municipalities. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Advocates aim to shape ‘Vancouver model’ for drug decriminalization

Advocates aim to shape ‘Vancouver model’ for drug decriminalization

Senator Murray Sinclair appears before the Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples in Ottawa, Tuesday, May 28, 2019. Sinclair is planning to leave the Senate early next year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Sen. Murray Sinclair, former head of TRC, set to leave the upper chamber next January

Sen. Murray Sinclair, former head of TRC, set to leave the upper chamber next January

Carolina De La Torre, right, owner of Arepas Ranch in Calgary, poses for a photo with her husband in this undated handout photo. The Venezuelan woman who believes she was used as part of Jason Kenney's argument not to lockdown restaurants in the province remembers her encounter with the premier as a lot less dramatic than he suggested. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Carolina De La Torre *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘No crying’: Venezuelan refugee Kenney cited says interaction was less dramatic

‘No crying’: Venezuelan refugee Kenney cited says interaction was less dramatic

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question from a reporter during a bi-weekly news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau feels most Canadians could be vaccinated by September 2021

Trudeau feels most Canadians could be vaccinated by September 2021

Most Read