England: Serena Williams reached her eighth Wimbledon semifinal by knocking out defending champion Petra Kvitova in straight sets with another commanding serving performance on Tuesday.
Playing underneath the closed roof on Centre Court while rain halted play elsewhere at the All England Club, Williams hit 13 aces — including three in the last game — to beat the fourth-seeded Czech 6-3, 7-5.
Kvitova was on an 11-match winning streak at Wimbledon and had not lost here since Williams beat her in the 2010 semifinals en route to her fourth title.
“She’s been playing so well on grass,” Williams said. “I had absolutely nothing to lose.”
The American four-time champion seized control by breaking Kvitova for a 4-2 lead in the first set and then never gave her opponent a chance to get back in the match. She saved a set point when trailing 5-4 in the second with a hard serve down the middle that Kvitova could return only into the net. That was the only break point the defending champion earned, as Williams won 86 percent of the points on her first serve.
Kvitova then led 30-0 in the next game but made four straight mistakes — including netting an easy forehand on break point — to give Williams the opening she needed.
Williams, who hit a Wimbledon-record 23 aces in a fourth-round win over Zheng Jie of China, is trying to become the first woman over 30 to win a Grand Slam title since Martina Navratilova won Wimbledon in 1990.
In the other match, Victoria Azarenka beat Tamira Paszek 6-3 7-6 to reach the semi-finals for the second year in a row and stay on course to become world number one.
The second-seeded Belarussian eased through the first set in 46 minutes but Austrian Paszek, who beat former world number one Caroline Wozniacki in the first round, hung in tenaciously to force a tiebreak in the second.
Azarenka moved 6-3 ahead under the Centre Court roof and she clinched victory on her second match point after one hour 49 minutes when Paszek sent a backhand long.
Azarenka will play four-times champion Williams in the semi-finals.