Hungry as ever, Serena Williams expressed huge relief after surviving her first scare of the tournament to remain firmly on track for an eighth Wimbledon women’s singles crown – and first as a mother.
“I hate losing. That’s no secret,” the 23-times major winner said after digging deep to deny Camila Giorgi a famous victory with a rousing 3-6 6-3 6-4 quarter-final comeback win over the unseeded Italian.
Contesting just her fourth tournament following 16 months of maternity leave either side of the birth of daughter Alexis Olympia last September, Williams will play German 13th seed Julia Goerges in her 11th semi-final at The All England Club on Thursday.
“Everything right now is a little bit of a surprise,” the American said.
“To be here, to be in the semi-finals … I mean, I always say I plan on it, I would like to be there, have these goals.
“But when it actually happens, it still is, like, ‘Wow, this is really happening’.
“It’s different now, obviously, because I have the baby.”
Triumphant in her two previous Wimbledon tilts in 2015 and 2016, Williams’s victory also extended her winning streak on the London grass to 19 matches.
The 36-year-old is now just two more from also matching Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 grand slam singles titles.
Goerges is at the other end of the spectrum, preparing for her maiden major semi-final after also recovering from a set down to beat Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens 3-6 7-5 6-1.
Winless in three previous meetings with Williams, including last month in Paris, Goerges could face compatriot Angelique Kerber in the first-ever all-German women’s grand slam final if she somehow fashions a way to turn the tables.
Kerber, the former world No.1 and runner-up to Williams in 2016, plays Latvia’s 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in Thursday’s second semi-final after outclassing Russian 14th seed Daria Kasatkina 6-3 7-5.
Ostapenko, the 12th seed, overpowered Slovak Dominika Cibulkova 7-5 6-4 to reach Wimbledon’s final four for the first time, and without dropping a set.
Meanwhile, the men’s Wimbledon quarter-finals line-up is complete – and formidable.
Fifth seed Juan Martin del Potro returned on Tuesday to finally finish off Gilles Simon on his fifth match point after the last fourth-round encounter of the championships was suspended under fading light on Monday night.
The Argentine’s prize for his epic, four-hour-and-24-minute 7-6 (7-1) 7-6 (7-5) 5-7 6-4 triumph over the unseeded Frenchman is no less than a last-eight shot at world No.1 Rafael Nadal.