Serena marches into semis
Seven-time champion Williams fights back to beat World No 52; Kerber advances too
Serena Williams survived a major scare before sealing her 11th Wimbledon semi-final appearance as the seven-time champion hit back to beat Italy's Camila Giorgi 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 on Tuesday.
Williams was in danger of a stunning quarter-final exit after world number 52 Giorgi became the first player in this year's tournament to take a set off the former world number one.
But Serena bludgeoned her way out of trouble over the final two sets to stay on course for an eighth All England Club triumph.
It was Serena's 100th career main draw victory on grass.
The 36-year-old will play German 13th seed Julia Goerges on Thursday for a place in Saturday's final boasting a 3-0 career record.
"I knew after the first set, 'all right, let's go three sets'. I'll just keep fighting," Williams said.
"I'm ok, I feel good, I feel like I did better today, I had to.
"This is only my fourth tournament back so I don't feel pressure, I don't feel I have to win this.
"I still have a long way to go to be where I was."
Serena is the first woman to reach a Grand Slam semi-final without facing a top 40 ranked opponent since 2013 and just the fourth since 2005.
Her path to the title has been wide open from early in the tournament as Garbine Muguruza, Maria Sharapova, Simona Halep, Petra Kvitova, Venus Williams, Caroline Wozniacki and Sloane Stephens have all been eliminated.
The carnage at the top leaves 11th seed Angelique Kerber — beaten by Serena in the 2016 Wimbledon final — as the highest ranked player left.
Kerber takes on Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko in the other semi-final.
Having shaken off the rust following her lengthy lay-off after the birth of her daughter Olympia in September, Williams is on the verge of a 10th Wimbledon final appearance.
If Serena lifts the Venus Rosewater Dish this weekend, she will join an select group of women who have won Grand Slam titles after becoming mothers.
She would also draw level with record holder Margaret Court on 24 Grand Slam crowns.
Williams won Wimbledon on her last two visits in 2015 and 2016 before missing last year's event due to her pregnancy.
Watched from the stands by her friend and mega-star rapper Drake, Serena struggled to hit the right notes in the first set.
There were no signs of stage-fright from Giorgi in her first Grand Slam quarter-final as she took the first set.
But, hitting her serve with more ferocity, Serena wrestled back control of the match with a crucial break in the fourth game of the second set.
Shrieking and clenching her fists after every key point that went her way, Serena let out a gutteral 'C'mon' once she wrapped up the set.
It was a verbal and physical assault that Giorgi couldn't withstand.
Asked before the match what she made of Serena's form, Giorgi had replied: "I don't know, I don't follow women's tennis."
But this nerveless comeback was a sight familiar to all who have admired Williams' warrior instincts throughout a Wimbledon career stretching back 20 years.
When Serena broke again for a 2-1 lead in the final set, the American whirled and pumped her arms.
Her dance of delight signalled the end of Giorgi's threat as Williams raced to the finish line.
Centre Court dilemma
Defending champion Federer will be playing in his 16th Wimbledon quarter-final and 53rd at all Grand Slams.
His opponent on Wednesday is eighth-seeded Kevin Anderson, the first South African since Wayne Ferreira in 1994 to get to the last eight.
Top seed Federer, 36, has now won 32 consecutive sets at Wimbledon, just two behind his record run from the third round in 2005 to his title triumph in 2006.
He also holds a 4-0 career lead over 2017 US Open runner-up Anderson who has yet to take a set off the Swiss.
Federer hasn't dropped serve at Wimbledon so far but is wary of the challenge posed by Anderson whose big serving style is flourishing on courts cooked by last week's heatwave.
"It's definitely helped a certain style of player, maybe the big servers," said 20-time major winner Federer.
‘It's about being smart'
Nadal has made the quarter-finals for the first time since finishing runner-up to Djokovic in 2011.
The world number one, chasing an 18th major, will now take on Juan Martin del Potro boasting a 10-5 career lead.
Del Potro is in his first quarter-final at the tournament since 2013 when he reached the semi-final.
Many are already anticipating a Sunday final between Federer and Nadal, 10 years after their 2008 epic championship showdown widely regarded as the greatest final ever played.
"Facing Roger again will be something fantastic," said Nadal.
"But if you ask me if I prefer another one, I say yes. It's about being smart, no?" Wednesday's other quarter-final sees 2016 runner-up Milos Raonic tackle US ninth seed John Isner, making his Wimbledon last-eight debut at 33.
It won't be pretty.
Isner, 33, has not been broken in 74 service games while Raonic has dropped serve just three times in 72 games.
Isner has unleashed a tournament-leading 135 aces while Canadian 13th seed Raonic is in second place, having fired 117.
Raonic has the fastest serve of this year's Wimbledon at 147 miles (236.5 kilometres) per hour, while Isner is just behind on 144mph (231.7kph).
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