The last two quarterfinals were played today--one rather efficiently, the other with some thrills. Venus Williams defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3, 6-4. Despite her struggles in early Wimbledon matches, Williams has looked more and more like a champion in the last few days. Kuznetsova herself was in danger of going out in the first round when she played an ever-improving Julia Vakulenko, but since that difficult win, she cruised through until she got to Williams. Williams served well, and was successful in her net approaches. Kuznetsova is a great all-around, all-surface player and a gifted athlete, but Williams on grass was too much for her today.
The other semifinal was less predictable, with two of the tour's younger stars, Nicole Vaidisova and Ana Ivanovic, battling it out in three sets. Vaidisova took the first, Ivanovic took the second, and then the fun started. Like Serena Williams, Vaidisova is a high-risk player, willing to chalk up errors in exchange for getting in some big, decisive winners. That was the kind of game she was playing today, and it looked like it was going to work for her. She broke Ivanovic immediately in the third set, and held that break until Ivanovic served at 3-5 and Vaidisova held three match points. Ivanovic, determined not to give her opponent the match on her own serve, saved all three match points in rallies that were thrilling.
She then had an easy hold to even it up at 5-all. Vaidisova, not known for her calm manner on court, proceeded to go to pieces mentally, an occurrence that did not elude Ivanovic, who broke her in the next game, with Vaidisova throwing in a double fault for good measure. Ivanovic then had a mental moment on her first match point, but prevailed on her second. Final score: 4-6, 6-2, 7-5
Fans of Sam Stosur--take note: She and Bob Bryan withdrew from mixed doubles today because Stosur has come down with a viral infection. She and Lisa Raymond are scheduled to play a quarterfinal match tomorrow in women's doubles.
Player of the day: Ana Ivanovic, who refused to lose the match on her own serve, then sensed her opponent's crack-up, and moved in skillfully for the victory.