Serena Williams into Wimbledon semifinals, reveals therapy sessions following US Open ‘meltdown’

Serena Williams of the US celebrates winning her quarterfinal match against Alison Riske of the US to go into the semifinals of Wimbledon. (Reuters)
Updated 09 July 2019

Serena Williams into Wimbledon semifinals, reveals therapy sessions following US Open ‘meltdown’

  • 37-year-old Williams two wins away from equalling Margaret Court’s Grand Slam singles title record haul of 24
  • The American superstar was widely vilified for her New York outburst

WIMBLEDON, London: Seven-time champion Serena Williams reached her 12th Wimbledon semifinal on Tuesday with a hard fought 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 victory over unseeded American compatriot Alison Riske.

The 37-year-old Williams, who is two wins away from equalling Margaret Court’s Grand Slam singles title record haul of 24, looked far from convincing as Riske pushed her the whole way over an engrossing two-hour duel.

However, Williams served it out with an ace to seal her 97th win at Wimbledon and avoid the same fate as world number one Ashleigh Barty, who Riske beat on Monday.

“It was really satisfying,” said Williams, whose clay court season was affected by a knee injury.

“I wouldn’t have won that match a couple of weeks ago. I’m glad that I was able to come through. She beat so many great players. She was really so close to taking the win today.”


Meanwhile, Serena Williams revealed Tuesday that she consulted a therapist after her infamous 2018 US Open final meltdown in which her bitter war of words with the umpire overshadowed Naomi Osaka’s maiden Grand Slam victory.

The American superstar was widely vilified for her New York outburst in which she branded the chair umpire a “liar” and “thief.”

She was handed a code violation for coaching,docked a point for smashing her racquet and penalized a game for verbal abuse.

“I couldn’t find peace. I started seeing a therapist,” Williams wrote in a first-person account published in US glossy magazine Harper’s Bazaar.

“I was searching for answers, and although I felt like I was making progress, I still wasn’t ready to pick up a racquet.”

Williams’s essay appeared online and on her own Instagram account in the middle of her Wimbledon quarter-final defeat of Alison Riske on Tuesday.

In it, she says she has apologized to Osaka, the breakout Japanese star who won the US Open final in straight sets.

“I am so proud of you and I am truly sorry. I thought I was doing the right thing in sticking up for myself. But I had no idea the media would pit us against each other,” said the 37-year-old Williams.

“I would love the chance to live that moment over again. I am, was, and will always be happy for you and supportive of you.

“I would never, ever want the light to shine away from another female, specifically another black female athlete.”

Williams said that Osaka, who went on to take the Australian Open title and the world number one spot, had accepted her apology.


Fati delights, Jovic disappoints, optimism for Atletico

Updated 30 September 2020

Fati delights, Jovic disappoints, optimism for Atletico

  • Atletico scored 19 fewer goals than champions Real Madrid last season and 35 fewer than Barcelona

MADRID: Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid will all be hoping to build on their first wins of the season as La Liga heads into its fourth round of games this week.

Here are the five talking points ahead of the midweek fixtures.

For the first time in a long time, Barcelona can enjoy some calm after a 4-0 win over Villarreal in their first match of the season on Sunday.

Lionel Messi scored on his first competitive appearance since attempting to leave in the summer but most exciting was the performance of the 17-year-old Ansu Fati, who scored twice and won a penalty.

Ronald Koeman must decide how to make the most of the teenager, whose maturity on the pitch belies his age and whose body might not be ready to start every week.

But Fati's pace, movement and decision-making are all so impressive it will be difficult to leave him out, as Barca look to build on that win at Celta Vigo on Thursday.

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane switched to a 4-4-2 formation during his team's 3-2 win at Real Betis on Saturday as Luka Jovic was deployed up front alongside Karim Benzema.

But the Serbian striker failed to take his chance, instead enduring another underwhelming night before going off with 18 minutes to go.

It remains to be seen whether Zidane persists with Jovic at home to Real Valladolid on Wednesday, or at all, given Madrid could yet decide to let their €60 million (today $70 million) signing leave before the end of the transfer window.

When Eden Hazard regains fitness, that spot next to Benzema will belong to the Belgian so Jovic's window of opportunity may be small. Time would appear to be running out.

Atletico scored 19 fewer goals than champions Real Madrid last season and 35 fewer than Barcelona.

So hitting six against Granada on Sunday offered some early encouragement that this season's Atletico, boosted by the arrival of Luis Suarez in attack, can put those scoring problems behind them.

Suarez stole the show after scoring twice on his debut but Joao Felix was arguably the biggest plus for Diego Simeone, who will hope the 20-year-old's excellent display is the start of a more consistent campaign.

Atletico go up against newly promoted Huesca on Wednesday, the kind of game they slipped up in too often last season.

Even defeat by Real Madrid could not knock Real Betis off the top of the table, as Manuel Pellegrini's team enjoy the benefits of a strong start and more games played than the traditional powerhouses three weeks into the season.

But there is cause for optimism longer-term as Betis began with wins against Alaves and Real Valladolid, before matching Madrid for prolonged spells until their opponents pulled away in the second half.

With the likes of Nabil Fekir, Sergio Canales and Joaquin, this Betis squad has not lacked for attacking talent but solidity at the back has too often been an afterthought.

Villarreal face Alaves on Wednesday, with pressure already on both coaches. Villarreal have four points from their opening three games but a 4-0 hammering at the hands of Barcelona on Sunday, as well as a draw at home to newly-promoted Huesca means Unai Emery could do with a victory.

Alaves, meanwhile, are second bottom after managing just a point from their first three games, with Pablo Machin seeking a first win at la Ceramica.

Valencia have also made a stuttering start, a draw at home to Huesca on Saturday coming on the back of a surprise loss away at Celta Vigo.

New coach Javi Gracia has already expressed disappointment with the club's summer transfer dealings, meaning credit with the board may be lacking if results do not improve.