Wimbledon: Serena Williams shows scary side to scattered field
Russia’s Evgeniya Rodina no match in Round of 16 battle of the tennis moms
Serena Williams in action during the fourth-round match against Russia’s Evgeniya Rodina at Wimbledon. Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters
There was a foreboding tennis moment in the second set on Centre Court during Serena Williams’s match against Russia’s Evgeniya Rodina.
It arrived after Rodina broke the serve of Williams in their fourth-round match.
The moment was how long it took the aggrieved Williams to break back and retrieve her service game to lead a set-up and 4-2 and continue to freight the women’s draw with a sense of invulnerability and menace.
That the 36-year-old whistled through Rodina’s serve on her own command seemed almost like a deliberate act of threat to the rest of the draw, now whittled down from 16 players to the last eight.
Intimidation has always been part of the American’s armoury and on Monday as the two moms collided it was the ‘momster’ tennis of Williams that overwhelmed her opponent. Plain sailing for Serena and once more the sense that it is a Williams against the rest of a scattered field.
“I knew we were both moms and I’m not sure how often that happens ever,” said Williams before what will be her 13th Wimbledon quarter-final. “We were empowering each other.”
What makes it a little easier for Williams, who has won 23 Grand Slams titles, is that Karolina Pliskova, the Czech seventh seed and the only player remaining from the top 10 seeds, was beaten 6-3 7-6 (1) by 20th seed Kiki Bertens to open up the draw even further. All the top 10 seeds departing at this stage has never happened.
But the upset theme of the week continued to be relentlessly applied with Camila Giorgi, ranked 52 in the world, sweeping into the last eight with a 6-3 6-4 success over giant-killing Russian Ekaterina Makarova, who is ranked 35th. She now meets Williams in the quarter-finals.
Of the unlikely remaining bunch of Slovak Dominika Cibulkova, Latvian Jelena Ostapenko, Russian Daria Kaskatina, Germans Angelique Kerber and Julia Goerges, the Dutch Bertens, Italian Giorgi and Williams, only the American; Ostapenko, who won the French Open last year; and Kerber, who won the Australian and US Open in 2016, have ever won a Grand Slam before.
Ten aces against Rodina in a 6-2 6-2 dust down that took a couple of minutes over the hour saw Williams safely through to face Giorgi, who moves into her first Grand Slam last eight.
Giorgi was asked what she thought of Williams’s tennis over the years. She wasn’t playing ball.
“I don’t follow tennis, woman tennis,” said the Italian. Probably too candid for Woman’s Tennis Association ears at their marquee event.
“I do follow women’s tennis. Of course I support women’s tennis,” countered Williams.
Williams then dodged what could easily have developed into a controversy following a question about US president Donald Trump.
The women’s final coincides with Trump’s visit to Britain next weekend and Williams was asked would it be a concern at all if he were to come in light of the boorish comments he’s made about women in sport.
American athletes condemned Trump for claiming that obscene comments about groping women were just “lockerroom talk”.
Williams wasn’t drawn.
“ I don’t know what comments he’s made about women in sport,” she said. “But I feel like he has the right to do whatever he wants to do. If he wants to come to a Wimbledon final, he has that right.”
On tennis, Williams can play better.
“This is only my fourth tournament back,” she said. “I would hope there’s a lot to continue to improve on. There is. There’s so much farther I want to go to get back where I was. And hopefully go beyond that.”
WOMEN’S FOURTH ROUND RESULTS
(20) Kiki Bertens (Ned) bt (7) Karolina Pliskova (Cze) 6-3 7-6 (7-1)
(11) Angelique Kerber (Ger) bt Belinda Bencic (Swi) 6-3 7-6 (7-5)
(12) Jelena Ostapenko (Lat) bt Aliaksandra Sasnovich (Blr) 7-6 (7-4) 6-0
(13) Julia Goerges (Ger) bt Donna Vekic (Cro) 6-3 6-2
(14) Daria Kasatkina (Rus) bt Alison Van Uytvanck (Bel) 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 6-2
(25) Serena Williams (USA) bt Evgeniya Rodina (Rus) 6-2 6-2
Dominika Cibulkova (Svk) bt Su-Wei Hsieh (Tpe) 6-4 6-1
Camila Giorgi (Ita) bt Ekaterina Makarova (Rus) 6-3 6-4