Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Serena tops Riske in Wimbledon quarterfinals

Serena Williams, playing in Indian Wells in March, appears headed for a record-
tying 24th Grand Slam singles title. Photo by Harjanto Sumali
   It will take a big upset to prevent Serena Williams from winning a milestone Grand Slam title.
   Of course, it has happened before.
   The 11th-seeded Williams, a part-time Silicon Valley resident, outplayed unseeded Alison Riske of Nashville, Tenn., 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 today in the Wimbledon quarterfinals.
   Williams, who's trying to tie Margaret Court's record of 24 Grand Slam singles title, is 16-2 combined against the other semifinalists. She has never lost a set in three career matches (all in majors) against her next opponent, Barbora Strycova, is 9-1 against Simona Halep and is 4-1 against Elina Svitolina.
   The unseeded Strycova beat 19th-seeded Johanna Konta 7-6 (5), 6-1, and the seventh-seeded Halep downed unseeded Zhang Shuai 7-6 (4), 6-1. Svitolina, seeded eighth, stopped unseeded Karolina Muchova 7-5, 6-4.
   Strycova, a 33-year-old Czech, and Svitolina, a 24-year-old Ukrainian, reached their first Grand Slam semifinals.
   Svitolina is 4-3 against Halep, 27. They have never met on grass.
   Williams won three singles titles (2011, 2012 and 2014) and Konta one (2016) in the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford.
   Svitolina, a semifinalist in her only Bank of the West appearance in 2015, is scheduled to play in the second annual Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic, July 29-Aug. 4 at San Jose State.
   Williams was two victories from pulling off the first calendar-year Grand Slam since Steffi Graf's in 1988 when she lost to unseeded Roberta Vinci in the 2015 U.S. Open semifinals.
   In today's match, Williams had 19 aces and two double faults to Riske's one and six, respectively.
   With Riske serving at 3-4, 30-30 in the third set, she played two terrible points in a row. Riske hit down the line instead of into the open court, allowing Williams to put away a forehand volley, and double-faulted. Williams closed out the match with -- what else? -- an ace down the middle.
   In the men's doubles quarterfinals, 11th-seeded Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin of France ousted top seeds and 2017 champions Lukasz Kubot of Poland and Marcelo Melo of Brazil 7-6 (3), 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-3.
   Mahut and Roger-Vasselin were coming off a four-set victory over seventh seeds and three-time champions Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan, 41-year-old ex-Stanford stars.
   In the second round of mixed doubles, Andy Murray and Williams beat 14th-seeded Fabrice Martin of France and Raquel Atawo (Cal, 2001-04) of San Jose 7-5, 6-3.
   Murray won the first of his 45 tour-level singles titles at 18 in the 2006 SAP Open in San Jose and repreated the following year.

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