All the key facts and talking points as the semifinals get under way at The Championships.
Alex Macpherson
July 10, 2018

Three out of the four semifinalists are Grand Slam champions: Serena Williams, Angelique Kerber and Jelena Ostapenko. The last time this occurred at a major was Wimbledon 2016, which featured Serena Williams, Angelique Kerber and Venus Williams. That tournament and today's lineup comprise the only times since the 2013 US Open that three of the final four at a Slam have already won one.

Serena Williams is contesting her 35th major semifinal, and her 11th at Wimbledon. The American's overall record in this round is 29-5, and her only loss in the final four of The Championships was to Venus Williams in 2000, by 6-2, 7-6(3).

Angelique Kerber is playing her seventh Slam semifinal, and her third at Wimbledon. The German's overall record in this round is 3-3. Jelena Ostapenko won her only previous major semifinal, taking the title at Roland Garros 2017; and Julia Goerges is the only semifinal debutante in this year's lineup. 21-year-old Ostapenko is also the youngest active player to have reached multiple Slam semifinals; the next youngest is 23-year-old Madison Keys.

Serena Williams has not lost a set to Julia Goerges in three previous meetings - two at Roland Garros (6-1, 6-1 in the 2010 second round and 6-3, 6-4 in the third round this year) and one in Toronto (6-1, 7-6(7) in the 2011 second round). Meanwhile, today will be Jelena Ostapenko and Angelique Kerber's first meeting.

The last time two Germans made the semifinals of a Slam was at Roland Garros in 1993. Stefanie Graf defeated Anke Huber 6-1, 6-1 before winning the final over Arantxa Sánchez Vicario to capture her 12th major title out of an eventual total of 22. Angelique Kerber and Julia Goerges will bid to set up the second all-German final at Wimbledon ever, following Cilly Aussem's 6-2, 7-5 defeat of Hilde Krahwinkel in 1931, and the first all-German Slam final in the Open Era; there has only been one all-German final at any level since 1995, Kerber's victory over Laura Siegemund in Stuttgart in 2016.

Angelique Kerber, Andrea Petkovic, Julia Goerges - Fed Cup 2015 - Getty
German Fed Cup teammates Angelique Kerber, Andrea Petkovic and Julia Goerges celebrate defeating Australia in a first-round 2015 tie (Getty)

Jelena Ostapenko is the only former junior Wimbledon champion remaining. The Latvian took the girls' singles title in 2014, beating Natalia Vikhlyantseva 7-6(7), 4-6, 6-2 in the second round, Marketa Vondrousova 6-1, 6-2 in the semifinals and Kristina Schmiedlova 2-6, 6-3, 6-0 in the final. Angelique Kerber won only one match in two visits to SW19 as a junior, beating Carly Gullickson in 2004 before losing 1-6, 7-5, 6-3 to future World No.1 Victoria Azarenka. Julia Goerges did not crack the junior Top 100 and never competed in the Wimbledon girls' event; Serena Williams famously skipped the junior circuit altogether.

World No.181 Serena Williams is the lowest-ranked major semifinalist in the Open Era, aside from unranked returnees Kim Clijsters at the 2009 US Open and Justine Henin at the 2010 Australian Open. (Both Clijsters and Henin would have been ranked under the current system - Henin above Williams and Clijsters below.)

Jelena Ostapenko is the only player to have progressed to the final four without dropping a set - though the 21-year-old was forced to save two set points in the second set against wildcard Katy Dunne in the first round, and retrieve a 2-5 first-set deficit against Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the fourth round. Julia Goerges has been stretched the furthest of the semifinalists, conceding three sets to Vera Lapko in the second round, Barbora Strycova in the third round - a 7-6(3), 3-6, 10-8 epic - and Kiki Bertens in the quarterfinals. Serena Williams and Angelique Kerber have lost one set each, to Camila Giorgi in the quarterfinals and Claire Liu in the second round respectively.

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READING

Angelique Kerber's quarterfinal win over Daria Kasatkina - particularly the final game, in which the Russian saved six match points in astonishing fashion before succumbing on the seventh - was a "connoisseur's delight", writes Joel Drucker for Tennis.com. Meanwhile, Mert Ertunga writes that it was the German's command of the game's intangibles that sealed victory for her at Tennis With An Accent.

Serena Williams's legendary success makes her "at first glance, the least relatable working mother in history" - but the American champion's openness about her struggles with the process, from the physical struggle to return to form to the emotions of missing daughter Olympia's first steps, make her a "working mom hero", writes Michelle Garcia for Vox.

15-year-old Brit Emma Raducanu has impressed on her Wimbledon debut, winning a set off eventual qualifier Barbora Stefkova as a wildcard into the preliminary rounds and making her way into the girls' quarterfinals. Her game is built around "impeccable timing", writes Charlie Eccleshare in the Telegraph.

ORDER OF PLAY

Click here for all WTA matches on the second Thursday of The Championships.

For full Order of Play and to watch live streaming, visit Wimbledon's official site.