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.