After three-time Wimbledon champion, Novak Djokovic defeated Adrian Mannarino to reach his ninth quarterfinal at SW19, it was time for Ladies' quarterfinal day to take place on Centre Court. It was time for the first meeting between seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams, and the reigning French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko.
Nonetheless, the 13th seed was only a couple weeks of age when Williams made her debut at SW19 for the first time in her career. It was a hard-hitting encounter on Centre Court, and the former world number one sent the 20-year-old packing, 6-3, 7-5. She will face Britain's sixth seed Johanna Konta or second seed Simona Halep in the semifinals on Thursday as Williams is looking to reach the final at Wimbledon for the first time in eight years.
Williams' victory over Ostapenko means that she will be competing in the semifinals for the 10th time, and it is the first time since 2007, that she has managed to reach multiple Grand Slam semifinals in the same year. The five-time champion will also return to the top ten.
Williams cruises in the opening set
The five-time champion started proceedings in this quarterfinal clash after Ostapenko elected to receive. The American produced three aces in her first game of the match, and she moved her scoreboard in the right direction. It proved to be the wrong decision for the Latvian as she was looking for her first break of the match. Nonetheless, the 10th seed broke Ostapenko's serve to take a 2-0 lead in the early goings of the match.
Williams' serving throughout the fortnight has been immaculate, and she consolidated the break by getting in some strong first serves which Ostapenko was unable to return. The 37-year-old was settled on Centre Court, taking a 3-0 lead under the roof due to rain which has interrupted play throughout the day on the other courts.
The French Open champion finally moved the scoreboard in the right direction as she raced out to a 40-0 lead but she had a slight wobble to close out the game. Nonetheless, she did as she played her fearless style of tennis with a ripping forehand winner down the line to lead 3-1.
The veteran did not allow Ostapenko to get a stranglehold in this match as she knows the dangers and the power of what the Latvian possesses on the forehand and backhand side. Williams stretched out her healthy lead to 4-1 after a crushing ace down the T.
Ostapenko started to get into her groove in the match as she had an easier time on serve, she produced scintillating backhand and forehand winners down the line from the baseline. Her serving started to improve and she ensured that the break was only one.
The French Open champion continued to go for her shots in Williams' next service game but once again, the five-time champion was solid on her serve, and she led 5-2 with Ostapenko having to serve to stay in the opening set.
The Latvian should have closed out the game to love, which would have put the pressure on the seven-time Grand Slam champion to close out the opening set. Furthermore, Williams stepped into the court and hit a forehand return winner down the line, out of reach for the 13th seed. Moreover, she stood her ground and held serve but Williams was in control of proceedings on Centre Court.
Williams closed out the opening set with a service winner, which Ostapenko tried to hit but was unable to get a racquet on it. It was a professional set of tennis from the American who took it 6-3 in just 29 minutes.
Williams survives the fight back to reach the semifinals
The 13th seed got off to a good start as she held onto her serve easily leading 1-0 in the second set. Moreover, she almost got the dream start in the second set, as she created her first break point of the match on Williams' serve. Nevertheless, the American snuffed it out quickly, followed by an ace down the T coupled with a wayward backhand from Ostapenko allowed the 37-year-old to hold serve and level things up at 1-1.
Things were quickly unraveling on Centre Court for the Latvian as she lost her serve to love with Williams taking a crucial 2-1 lead in the second set. The former world number one consolidated the break to lead 3-1 with her good serving, which Ostapenko looked up to her box, thinking that she could not get a read on the serve.
Moreover, the Latvian remained to dig deep as she continued to crush the ball so effortlessly on the baseline, and she held serve which was vital as the American could have run away with the match. Joy did finally arrive for the reigning French Open champion as she broke serve for the first time in the match by virtue of a double fault from Williams.
The momentum had seemingly shifted in Ostapenko's favor as she reeled off three games in succession to lead 4-3. Williams stopped the rot with a well needed comfortable hold to move her scoreboard once more.
The fearless 20-year-old finally got into the match and she forced the seven-time Grand Slam singles champion to serve to stay in the second set. Williams was in a spot of bother at 15-30, just two points away from losing the set but she showed her champion's mentality by sending down an ace to get the game at 30-30. She consolidated the game with a hold by utilizing her big serve down the middle to restore parity at 5-5.
The French Open champion almost played one of the worst games of the match as she committed four back-to-back unforced errors on the forehand and backhand side, handing the former world number one the game, and the chance to serve for the match.
In a blink of an eye, the 10th seed ended Ostapenko's 11-match winning streak at Grand Slams with a hold to love, sealing her spot in the semifinals at Wimbledon for the second year in succession, and tenth time overall. She is the oldest player to do so, since nine-time champion Martina Navratilova in 1994.