LONDON: Serena Williams insists she has nothing to lose as the four-time champion bids to secure her seventh appearance in the Wimbledon final with a victory over second seed Victoria Azarenka on Thursday.
Williams booked her place in the last four by ending Petra Kvitova’s reign as champion with a 6-3, 7-5 victory on Tuesday, while Azarenka moved into her second successive Wimbledon semi-final by defeating unseeded Austrian Tamira Paszek 6-3, 7-6 (7/4).
That sets the stage for a fascinating clash between one of Wimbledon’s all-time greats and a talented contender in Azarenka who has already enjoyed the best year of her life after winning a series of titles including her first Grand Slam crown at the Australian Open.
Williams, who last won a Grand Slam at Wimbledon in 2010, has been impressed by Azarenka’s rise over the last six months, but the American believes the lack of pressure she feels at the moment could be the decisive factor as it allows her to go for broke at crucial moments.
“She’s playing unbelievable and already having a Grand Slam under her belt is really great. She did it in such style, so it’s not going to be easy if I play her,” Williams said.
“It’s going to be another match where I have absolutely nothing to lose. I can just go out there and enjoy myself and have fun.
“Right now if Victoria beats me, she’s had a better year than I have.
“Going against a player like that, I feel like she almost has an advantage. So that makes me really relaxed and I can just kind of hit.”
For Azarenka, the 22-year-old’s meeting with 13-time Grand Slam champion Williams represents a chance to make amends for last year’s Wimbledon semi-final defeat against Kvitova, and also a quarter-final loss to Williams in 2009.
“It’s a great feeling to be in a semi-final of a Grand Slam but I still want to go all the way and it seems still far away,” Azarenka said. “There’s no better opponent than Serena, I’m really looking forward to it. It’s not going to be easy but it’s the semi-final of a Grand Slam.”