*Serena Williams fought back from a set down Tuesday to beat Victoria Azarenka 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 on Centre Court to reach the Wimbledon semifinals and keep her bid alive for a fourth straight major title – a.k.a. a “Serena Slam.”
Williams is now two wins away from winning her fourth consecutive major tournament, which would match the non-calendar Slam she last achieved in 2002-03. A victory in the U.S. Open this fall would then be left to complete a true Grand Slam, which hasn’t been accomplished since Steffi Graf won all four in the same year in 1988.
Coming up with big serves when she needed them and getting stronger as the match wore on, Williams put on a dominant performance in the final two sets, winning seven straight games at one stretch, to run her Grand Slam winning streak to 26 matches.
“It’s been up and down, up and down, but somehow I’m still alive,” Williams said. “I don’t know how. I’m just happy to be still here.”
Williams hit 17 aces, including three in each of her final two service games, to extend her career record against Azarenka to 17-3 — including 10-0 in Grand Slam play.
“It was really fun out there,” Williams said. “I found myself smiling at one point, and I saw Victoria smiling as well. It’s such a great atmosphere to be out here and playing and doing the best that we can. I think we both really enjoyed it.”
Williams will next face Maria Sharapova on Thursday in the semifinals. Williams beat Sharapova, the 2004 Wimbledon champion, in this year’s Australian Open final. Williams holds a career 17-2 advantage against the Russian, including 16 wins in a row.
Sharapova advanced in a drama-filled three-set match against Coco Vandeweghe.
“We haven’t played each other at Wimbledon in a while but I look forward to it,” Williams said. ” I just really don’t have anything to lose.”