Serena Williams Tops Camila Giorgi, Advances to 2018 Wimbledon Semi-Finals

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistJuly 10, 2018

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 10:  Serena Williams of the United States plays a forehand against Camila Giorgi of Italy during their Ladies' Singles Quarter-Finals match on day eight of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 10, 2018 in London, England.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Michael Steele/Getty Images

Serena Williams will feature in her first Grand Slam semi-final in 18 months after coming from a set down to beat Camila Giorgi 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 on Tuesday to advance into the last four of Wimbledon 2018.  

The veteran failed to lose a set in her previous three career meetings with Giorgi but was forced to recover from an early setback after conceding the only break of the opening set.

She will progress to face Julia Gorges at the semi-finals in SW19 after she defeated Kiki Bertens. The seven-time champion is seeking her first major title since the 2017 Australian Open and having last won the Wimbledon crown in 2016.

Williams had failed to encounter much resistance en route to the quarter-finals in London and won all four of her prior matches in straight sets, making Tuesday's early setback to Giorgi that much more surprising.

Giorgi had gone the maximum three sets twice this tournament already but brought a ferocity to Centre Court that saw her hold her own with relative comfort, in the first set at least, as described by writer Jose Morgado:

José Morgado @josemorgado

Outstanding from Giorgi. Destroying the ball as always and finding the court

As comfortable as one can get against Williams, that is, and indeed it was the 36-year-old, 10 years Giorgi's elder, who looked off the pace, per journalist Tumaini Carayol:

Tumaini Carayol @tumcarayol

Camila Giorgi's average first serve speed: 113mph. Serena Williams' fastest first serve speed: 107mph

Williams failed to concede even a point in her first two service games, but errors backed her into a corner at 3-2 down, and Giorgi took the vital break point at the second time of asking.

The Italian came close to gifting Williams the leveller in the game immediately after but saved four break points and served out the remainder of the set 6-3.

Williams' former flame, Drake, was in the Wimbledon audience, per BuzzFeed's Scott Bryan, leading to suggestions he was a bad-luck charm after he also appeared at her 2015 U.S. Open defeat to another Italian, Roberta Vinci: 

Scott Bryan @scottygb

So Drake is currently watching Serena Williams vs Camila Giorgi at Wimbledon (h/t @NotAgainBen) https://t.co/cDg6jC1LXI

The No. 25 seed didn't do much wrong to lose that first set, however, and flipped the momentum in her favour. Williams was more clinical in the break points and won only three more points in the second (29) as she did in the first (26), per Wimbledon's website, but it was enough to level terms.

Williams trailed only once on her own serve in the second set and began to enforce her will from the baseline more, as tennis writer Christopher Clarey underlined a key contrast in the service stakes:

Christopher Clarey @christophclarey

Serena Williams First serve points won: 79% Second serve points won: 73% Camila Giorgi First serve points won: 78% Second serve points won: 46%

Giorgi continued the fight, but after losing break to trail 3-1, her opponent copied her pragmatic approach in defending the lead without chasing shots. As told by the New York Times' Ben Rothenberg, it paid off:

Ben Rothenberg @BenRothenberg

Serena Williams roars a "COMEONNNNNN" as she takes the second set 6-3 over Camila Giorgi (after shaking off an absurd Giorgi return winner on the previous set point). Going three on Centre Court. #Wimbledon

The pair were tied at one game apiece in the third set when Giorgi double-faulted, gifting Williams her opening before a looped backhand from behind the baseline found its mark to see her into a 2-1 lead.

It was her first time leading in the match, and she showed her rhythm had been found, adding to her ace tally and succeeding in keeping Giorgi at arm's length. As the match drew to a close, that first break to the Italian remained Williams' only occasion dropping three points or more on her own serve.

Three drops of serve eventually told the tale over three sets, and Williams' advancement was confirmed when her power ultimately became too much, pinning Giorgi back before a forehand into the net completed her defeat.

Williams grew into her serve on Tuesday and won her last three service games at love, sending a reminder to her future foes not to allow the American to develop a head of steam, especially at Wimbledon.