Locked in battle with fellow American Alison Riske on a blustery day in southwest London, Williams took action in the tense decider when her hair was "getting in the way.""I was missing a shot because it's in my face," Williams told reporters. "I was like, 'This is not happening.' I just needed to get it out of the way, put the business bun up and just get to business."And she did.READ: Coco Gauff: How do you protect a 15-year-old tennis prodigy?READ: Williams says she owes Osaka an apology. Osaka's response brought her to tearsWilliams cranked up her level at crunch time in a scene regularly played out over her three-decade career. And she saved her best for last, striking more aces, winners and tallying her tidiest winners-to-unforced errors ratio in the third set against the conqueror of world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty to reach a 12th Wimbledon semifinal. Awaiting the 37-year-old Thursday as she continues her quest for a 24th major is Barbora Strycova, a grass court-loving 33-year-old, who became the oldest first-time women's grand slam semifinalist in the Open Era in what could be her farewell appearance at Wimbledon. READ: Serena Williams fined $10,000 for damaging court READ: Roger Federer: The power and presence of the $120 million manREAD: The Borg identity: Following in the footsteps of a famous fatherStrycova — the most experienced of seven Czechs in the top 100 — hasn't ruled out retiring come the end of 2019. The other semifinal pits former London resident Elina Svitolina — her own semifinal drought at grand slams is now a thing of the past — against Simona Halep in a battle of speedy baseliners who seem to have overcome their grass-court foibles. Williams, by contrast, has won Wimbledon seven times, and if she can maintain Tuesday's stellar form, number eight figures to be on the way.
'All the confidence in the world'
According to Riske's coach, it was one of the finest performances from Williams on her comeback after becoming a mom in September 2017. "I watched a lot of tape before this match, I watched a lot of Serena kind of in the last couple of years to see what she has been like," Billy Heiser told CNN, adding he didn't go further back because Williams was "basically unbelievable.""Honestly, I felt this was the best match she's played in quite some time. Definitely all year. And I thought Ali brought that out of her and made her play and dig really deep. "Serena should have all the confidence in the world. She played a two-hour match that was physical and she responded with some of her best stuff in the end."Visit CNN Sport for more news, features and videosWilliams' coach Patrick Mouratoglou agreed."That was a high-level match," he told CNN. Williams later went out and bossed her mixed doubles match with partner Andy Murray, ripping returns against towering Frenchman Fabrice Martin and chasing what appeared to be lost causes with success.The duo, dubbed "Murr-ena" or "Ser-Andy," lost to top seeds Nicole Melichar and Bruno Soares Wednesday, butjust deciding to play mixed doubles was encouraging from Williams, an indication that her left knee can handle the extra workload. "This is the first time since Australia that I actually felt, like, good," said Williams. "It's been a really, really long year for me already, and hard year, because I'm usually not typically injured."Now that I feel good, I can actually focus on training and technique and practice, something I just literally haven't been able to do a lot of."READ: Konta lashes out at 'disrespectful' reporterRead More – Source