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Serena Williams vs Strycova Wimbledon SF Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Serena targets 11th Wimbledon final

Leye Aduloju in WTA Tour 11 Jul 2019
  • Serena Williams vs Barbora Strycova is live from Wimbledon on Thursday, 11 July from 2:30pm local time/ 2:30pm BST
  • Williams has won all three previous meetings in straight sets
Serena Williams. (Photo by Corinne Dubreuil/ABACAPRESS.COM)

Serena Williams is just two wins away from securing a record-equaling 24th Grand Slam title, and the legendary American will attempt to knock off one of those wins when she plays first-time major semi-finalist, Barbora Strycova at Wimbledon on Thursday.

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Williams is attempting to reach an eleventh Wimbledon final, as she closes in on an eighth title at the grass-court major.

Serena’s ability to peak for the majors has again being apparent over the last week and a half, with the 37-year-old producing some of her best tennis of the season at the All England Club, after struggling with a knee injury in the months leading up to the tournament. Williams opened her year with a quarter-final run at the Australian Open, but she played just three tournaments after that, failing to complete any of the three. She retired from a third round meeting with Garbine Muguruza due to illness, before withdrawing from Miami and Rome after just one match because to the knee problem.

However, she has found her form and fitness at Wimbledon, and as the tournament approaches its business end, the great woman is now the favourite to go on and win the title.

“This is the first time since Australia that I actually felt, like, good,” Serena admitted. “It's been a really, really long year for me already, and hard year, because I'm usually not typically injured”. “I don't know where I am [in terms of my level]. I do know I feel good. Now that I feel good, I can actually focus on training and technique and practice, something that I just literally haven't been able to do a lot of.”

Serena did not exactly hit the ground running at Wimbledon- she opened the tournament with a 6-2 7-5 victory over Italian qualifier, Giulia Gatto-Monticone, and had to recover from a set down to take out 18-year-old Slovenian qualifier, Kaja Juvan in the second round, but she produced two tremendous performances to see off the seeded duo of Julia Goerges and Carla Suarez Navarro in straight sets before battling past compatriot, Alison Riske in three sets to get into the semi-finals.

Riske had arrived that quarter final contest in fine grass-court form, having won 14 of 15 matches on the surface this season, including a superb three-set victory over world No. 1 and pre-tournament favourite, Ashleigh Barty in the previous round, and she made a confident start in her first meeting with Serena, twice going up a break in the opening set. Serena hit back on both occasions, before winning the last three games to take the set.

Riske has won all of her four previous matches at Wimbledon 2019 in three sets, and she once again displayed those battling qualities to take the second set. When she broke in the opening game of the deciding set, it appeared Serena Williams was about to suffer yet another heartbreak in her quest for the so far elusive 24th major, but Williams took the next three games to lead 3-1. Riske titled the see-saw once again by breaking back and holding for 3-3, but, with the match on the line, it was Serena that found the finish, taking the last three games to roar into another Wimbledon semi-final.

“I just needed to just fight,” Serena said after the match. “Alison, I mean, she played great throughout the whole tournament. She's beaten so many amazing players, players that have had great years.  “She was not giving it to me. I needed to step up and take it. That's what I had to do.”

Williams sent down 19 aces in the contest, striking 49 winners and 27 unforced errors in another powerful performance.

Can she overcome the crafty Barbora Strycova to take her place in Saturday’s final?

Strycova is competing in her first major semi-final; she had previously made just the one major quarter final- also at Wimbledon in 2014- but in what could be her last Wimbledon (she has hinted that much), the 33-year-old has reached a maiden Grand Slam semi-final after carving a route through a challenging draw.

The Czech has dropped just one set in reaching the semi-finals- against Elise Mertens in the fourth round, where she battled back from a set and 2-5 down to eke out a 4-6 7-5 6-2 victory in two hours and 14 minutes.

She had earlier taken out Lesia Tsurenko, Laura Siegemund, and fourth seed, Kiki Bertens in straight sets to get to the second week, while she followed up her fightback against Mertens with another fine win over British No. 1, Johanna Konta in the quarter-finals. Konta made a confident start, powering to a 3-0 lead, and threatening to run away with the match, but the wily Strycova slowly chipped away, and broke back for 3-4. She went on to take the set on a tie break, before pulling away in the second, unwrapping her box of tricks on Konta, who simply could not handle the variety coming from the other side of the net in the 7-6 6-1 defeat.

This is Strycova’s third semi-final of the season, as she had also made the last four on the clay of Istanbul, and on the grass of Birmingham in one of her pre-Wimbledon warm-up tournaments. The only other noteworthy result she has had this year was her quarter final in Doha. Overall, she is 18-13 for the season, and is currently ranked 54th in the world. The Czech, who reached a career-high ranking of 16th in 2017, is projected to go as high as 32nd in the world by virtue of this semi-final run, and if she beats Serena Williams for the first time on Thursday, she will move to the verge of a top-20 return.

Serena has not dropped a set in six previous meetings with Strycova, one of which was at Wimbledon in 2012- Serena winning 6-2 6-4- and for all the guile and craft Strycova brings to the table, Serena retains the ability to snatch the racket of the Czech’s hands and power to victory.

That is the likelier outcome, with a fit, firing and focused Serena set to advance to the Wimbledon final.

Serena Williams vs Barbora Strycova is live from Wimbledon on Thursday, 11 July from 2:30pm local time/ 2:30pm BST

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Serena Williams vs Strycova Wimbledon SF Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Serena targets 11th Wimbledon final

Serena Williams continues her quest for a 24th Grand Slam title when she plays Czech, Barbora Strycova on Thursday. Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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