Serena Williams has survived a huge scare to defeat Alison Riske in a nailbiter and advance to the Wimbledon semi-finals for the 12th time.
Williams wasn’t at her best but still had enough weapons in her arsenal to crush Riske’s Wimbledon fairytale with a 6-3 4-6 6-3 victory.
Before today Williams had only dropped one set all tournament in a relatively cruisy run to the quarters but there was nothing easy about the challenge she faced from her former doubles partner, who left everything out on the court in a display that won her plenty of fans, if not the match.
After sending down an ace on match point, Williams raised her arms, then brought them down to her side and roared as she erupted with emotion.
“It was really satisfying, I wouldn’t have won that match a week ago,” Williams said.
“She was playing so great, she beat so many great players and, oh my god, she was so close to taking the win today.
“I was really pumped, obviously it was for a place in the semis in Wimbledon and that doesn’t happen everyday.
“I was really pumped.”
“I think it really counted today,” Williams added of her big match experience. “I had to button up and play hard. She was playing her heart out, she had nothing to lose and I realised I didn’t either.”
Bizarrely, Williams’ hair attracted plenty of attention, with many on social media linking her improved performance in the third set to the moment she tied her hair up in a bun.
Asked about it in the post-match press conference, Williams said: “Well, today it (my hair) was just in my way, and the wind ... I was missing a shot because it’s in my face.
“I was like, ‘This is not happening’. I just needed to get it out of the way, put the business bun up and just get to business.”
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