Serena Williams rallied from a set down against Italian Camila Giorgi on Tuesday to advance to the semifinals at Wimbledon.
Williams defeated Giorgi 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in 1 hour, 45 minutes on Centre Court at the All England Club. The 25th-seeded American will next face 13th-seeded German Julia Goerges on Thursday.
"I think everything right now is a little bit of a surprise," Williams told reporters after the match. "To be here, to be in the semifinals. I mean, I always say I plan on it, I would like to be there, have these goals. But when it actually happens, it still is like, 'Wow, this is really happening.'"
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Williams and Giorgi played even through the first four games of the first set before the 52nd-ranked Italian pulled away for a 5-2 advantage on her way to claiming the set. The second set was all Williams, however, as she jumped to a 4-1 lead and maintained at least a two-game advantage the rest of the way to force a decisive third set.
Williams dropped the first game of the third before claiming three in a row. She and Giorgi traded games the rest of the way, with Williams claiming victory on her first match-point attempt in the 10th game.
The match saw Williams, a seven-time champion at Wimbledon, drop a set at this year's event for the first time. The 23-time Grand Slam winner missed the tournament in 2017 because of her pregnancy.
"I feel good, like I did better today because I had to," Williams said. "This is only my fourth tournament back. I don't feel pressure, or like I have to win this or lose it. I'm just here to prove that I'm back. I feel like I am, but I still have a ways to go to be back where I want to be."
Goerges also was forced to rally in her win, overcoming 20th-seeded Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens 6-3, 7-5, 6-1 in 1 hour, 58 minutes. The 13th-ranked Goerges struck 36 winners compared to 19 for the 20th-ranked Bertens and won the final five games of the match.
Williams bested Goerges 6-3, 6-4 in the third round of last month's French Open.
"I played Julia in the French. That was four or five weeks ago, that doesn't matter," Williams said. "This is a whole new match, it's a new surface, it's everything. We're starting from zero."
German Angelique Kerber, the No. 11 seed, booked her spot in the semifinals with a 6-3, 7-5 win over 14th-seeded Russian Daria Kasatkina in 1 hour, 31 minutes on Centre Court. Kerber wrapped up the victory on her seventh match-point attempt in the decisive 12th game of the second set.
"I think the whole match was really good," said the former No. 1 Kerber, who advanced to the semifinals at Wimbledon for the second time in three years. "I think we both played on a really high level, starting from the first point. I think the last game shows how good we played both and how she was fighting until the end."
Kasatkina had 33 winners in the match, but was undone by 31 unforced errors and seven double faults.
Kerber will next face 12th-seeded Latvian Jelena Ostapenko, a 7-5, 6-4 winner over Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova in 1 hour, 23 minutes. Ostapenko had 32 winners, including five aces, compared to six winners for Cibulkova.
Ostapenko has yet to drop a set throughout the tournament. She is the first Latvian woman to reach the semifinals at Wimbledon and will be facing Kerber for the first time.
"I think it's a big challenge, especially about Ostapenko where I never played against her," Kerber said. "I mean, she won also a Grand Slam (2017 French Open). I think it will be really a good match. I think the match starts from zero. I mean, the pressure is not always on my side, since she won a Grand Slam, as well. I think that we are both looking forward to playing the semis."
--Field Level Media