Serena Williams ‘in good place’ before semi-final against Barbora Strycova

first_imgWhen Serena Williams was beaten in the third round at the French Open last month, while struggling with a right knee injury, the idea that only a few weeks later she would be on the verge of yet another Wimbledon final seemed unlikely, even for her. But here we are, and the 37-year-old stands one match away from fighting for grand slam title No 24.The significance of that number is not lost on anyone in the women’s game as Williams tries to equal the all‑time record of grand slam singles titles held by the Australian Margaret Court.Ever since she returned to tennis in March of last year, following the birth of her daughter, Williams has been focused on the record. Tennis Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Wimbledon: Nadal and Federer set up semi-final, Williams and Murray out – as it happened Since you’re here… Read more US sports The Recap: sign up for the best of the Guardian’s sport coverage Support The Guardian Share via Email news Wimbledon … we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many new organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Share on LinkedIn Read more Share on Messenger Williams will be confident against the unseeded Strycova who is playing in her first grand slam semi-final. The American has won all three of their previous matches in straight sets. The most recent one was two years ago at the Australian Open and in the past fortnight, the 31-year-old Czech has been enjoying the time of her life. Her win against Britain’s Johanna Konta in the quarter-finals was an example of what she is all about.Trailing 4-1 she mixed up her game, serve and volleying on occasion, sneaking to the net when she could, slicing and dicing and generally making her opponent play the way she did not want to play.“I never saw a player more talented than Barbora with the touch for the ball,” said Lukas Dlouhy, a former top doubles player and now Strycova’s coach. “That’s why she’s playing good on grass and why she loves this tournament.”In the bottom half the former world No 1 Simona Halep of Romania takes on the Ukrainian Elina Svitolina, two of the best athletes and competitors in the game. For Halep it is a second semi-final here, five years after her first, while Svitolina is the first Ukrainian woman to make a grand slam last four.On paper Halep is favourite but Svitolina, coached by the Briton Andrew Bettles, has won four of their six meetings and won their last one, in Doha this year. Topics Reuse this content At times, especially at the US Open last September when she had a meltdown, the stress it has caused her has been all too obvious; but as she prepares to face the Czech Barbora Strycova in the semi-finals on Thursday she seems at ease.“I think she is in a good place at the moment,” her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, told reporters.“She is happy. She has a house here, her husband is here, her daughter is here and she is pain-free now for three weeks, so she feels so much lighter [mentally].”Lacking match practice all year because of the knee injury Williams had flirted with the idea of playing a warmup event before arriving at Wimbledon. Mouratoglou advised against it, telling her she should get treatment. It worked, and over the past two weeks she has improved with every round. Playing in the mixed doubles with Andy Murray has sharpened her reflexes and she is beginning to look like the woman who has won the title here seven times before.“With both singles and mixed doubles she has been able to spend quite a lot of hours on the tennis court playing matches – that is what she needed – and in the last match you could see she has been able to raise her level when necessary, which is one of her trademarks,” Mouratoglou said. “And this is back so everything is positive.” Share on Pinterest Share on WhatsApp Wimbledon 2019 Serena Williamslast_img

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