By Ros Satar, at Wimbledon
- Serena Williams  def. Alison Riske 6-4 4-6 6-3
WIMBLEDON, UK – Serena Williams came through arguably her toughest test at Wimbledon this year, defeating Fed Cup team-mate Alison Riske to book a spot in the semi-finals.
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When Alison Riske took out World No. 1 and Roland Garros champion Ashleigh Barty, her credentials on grass were cemented. Riske had come through three-setters the whole way and today was no exception.
Riske was the one taking her chances at the start of the match, the first one to break before the first sit-down. Predictably Williams broke back, and the pair exchanged a flurry of breaks to get back on serve but Williams lifted up a gear to take the first set.
The second set was a much tighter affair, with Riske’s abilities on grass really coming to the fore – while she could not get a sniff of a break on the Williams serve, there was no danger to her own serve either.
It was down to Riske to take advantage of the single break point of the second set, and she wasted no time in taking it, going on to serve out for the set to love. That momentum was key for Riske as she broke Williams immediately at the start of the deciding set, but Williams pegged her right back.
The pattern was repeated with Williams striking a blow for a 3-1 lead, only for Riske to come right back at her, before a couple of nervier games. Williams now was the one looking very much in the ascendency, and it took a battle of a game to convert a fourth break point for the lead, before striking out for home. Her reaction at the end said it all, as she still chases that elusive 24th major title.
She said, after the match: “I just needed to just fight. Alison 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.
“I haven’t had a tremendous amount of time to prepare for this. Like I said in the beginning of this tournament, each and every match for me has to count as, like, five or ten matches because I have not played a lot.
“This is the first time since Australia that I actually felt good. 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. 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.”
She will face Barbora Strycova in the semi-finals and will play in the second round of the Mixed Doubles with Andy Murray later today.
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