Serena Williams is through to the Wimbledon semi-finals after a victory over fellow American, Allison Riske. The 23-time Grand Slam winner was made to work hard for her win but eventually took the game with a score of 6-4; 4-6; 6-3.
The win keeps the 37-year-old on course to equal Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slams.
Riske had already knocked out number one seed, Ashleigh Barty, in the quarter-finals and she gave Williams a tough battle winning the second set after losing the first. The 37-year old’s experience was crucial in the deciding third set as she booked her place in the last four with an ace. She will face Czech star, Barbara Strycova, in the next round.
According to AFP, Williams said she was motivated by the promise of a spot in the semi-finals. "I was really pumped. It was for a place in the semis at Wimbledon, that doesn't happen every day and it's a long, arduous road," said Williams.
"I just had to just button up and play hard. She was playing her heart out and she had nothing to lose and I realised neither did I."
She also admitted that she may have not won this game at the start of the tournament. "It was really satisfying," said Williams, whose clay court campaign was affected by a knee injury.
"I wouldn't have won that match a couple of weeks ago."
Simona Halep also booked her spot in the semi-finals with a straight sets victory over China’s Zhang Shuai. The former French Open winner had some trouble early on before getting into her stride and winning with a score of 7-6; 7-4; 6-1.
Halep is the highest seeded player left in the tournament and the only player other than Williams to have won a major Grand Slam.
The Romanian was given a tough first set as she went 4-1 down early in the tie. She eventually battled back to bring the scores level at 4-4 before winning 7-6.
The first set defeat seemed to have sapped the energy out of Shuai as Halep stepped up the pressure to win the second set comfortably at 6-1. The win puts Halep in her second ever Wimbledon semi-final where she will face Ukrainian, Elina Svitolina.
Speaking after the game, the Romanian said she never gave up hope despite being behind. "I fought hard in the first set, even if I was down 4-1," said 27-year-old Halep.
"I have energy. I feel fresh. I feel healthy. I feel confident when I step on the court."