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Serena Williams is great indoors, reaches semifinals at Wimbledon

TENNIS

Playing with Centre Court roof closed, Serena Williams uses her big (and loud) serve to beat defending champion Petra Kvitova, 6-3, 7-5, and will face No. 2-seeded Victoria Azarenka. Mardy Fish loses.

July 03, 2012|By Diane Pucin
  • Serena Williams chases after a shot during her quarterfinal victory over Petra Kvitova at Wimbledon on Tuesday.
Serena Williams chases after a shot during her quarterfinal victory over… (Clive Brunskill / Getty…)

WIMBLEDON, England — Whoosh.

Serena Williams heard it.

Whomp.

Williams heard that too.

The sounds of Williams' massive service, still the best and biggest weapon in women's tennis, were amplified Tuesday.

Williams beat defending Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, 6-3, 7-5, with the Centre Court roof closed on the rainy grounds of the All England Club.

Kvitova, a 22-year-old Czech, had a forthright answer when asked whether Williams, 30, will win a fifth Wimbledon title.

"I think so," Kvitova said.

Williams, 30, won under the roof with the benefit of 13 aces. Next up for Williams will be a semifinal against second-seeded Victoria Azarenka, who also played under the roof.

Azarenka, of Belarus, was scheduled to play unseeded Austrian Tamira Paszek on uncovered Court 1, but the match eventually was moved and Azarenka earned her spot against Williams with a 6-3, 7-6 (4) win.

Williams was left as the last American in the singles draw after Mardy Fish and Brian Baker were ousted.

Fish, seeded 10th, had won the first set against fifth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on a rain-interrupted schedule Monday but was unable summon the same level of play Tuesday and fell to the Frenchman, 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4, 6-4.

Baker, a 27-year-old from Tennessee who got into the main draw only after playing three rounds of qualifying, lost, 6-2, 7-6 (4), 6-3, to 27th-seeded Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany.

Eighth-seeded Angelique Kerber, a surprise semifinalist at the U.S. Open last year, made it to her second major semifinal with a 6-3, 6-7 (7), 7-5 win over fellow German Sabine Lisicki. She will play third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland.

Radwanska outlasted four rain delays and a change of court to beat 17th-seeded Maria Kirilenko, 7-5, 4-6, 7-5. The match began at 2:28 p.m. London time on Court 1 and finished at 9:47 on Centre Court.

Williams had never played in a Centre Court match with the roof closed, and from the sound of it, she'd like to do it again.

"I loved it," she said. "There was no elements, no excuses. I loved the sound. It was really cool."

The sound Williams most enjoyed was the one made by her stellar serves. "It's kind of like a whoosh and a pop. It's almost like a video game, but you're playing. [The ball] kind of flies through and you hear it when it lands. It's really cool."

Kvitova, seeded fourth, fell behind quickly. She trailed, 5-2, after only 20 minutes. But the longer the match lasted, the more Kvitova found her form.

In the second set, neither player had a break point until the 10th game, when one arrived suddenly. It came with Williams serving and it was more than a break point. It gave Kvitova a set point.

But Williams popped in a 115-mph service winner and ultimately held for 5-5. In the next game Kvitova seemed unnerved and hit an easy forehand into the net on break point to give Williams a 6-5 lead and the chance to serve out the match.

And then it was video-game time. Williams had three aces and a game-ending service winner. Whoosh.

diane.pucin@latimes.com

twitter.com/mepucin

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