Serena Williams's 37th Grand Slam semifinal appearance ties her with Stefanie Graf for the third-most major semifinals ever. Williams and Graf are behind only Chris Evert (52) and Martina Navratilova (44).
Seven-time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams has reached at least one Grand Slam semifinal for 20 of the past 21 years, with 2006 being the only exception. 2018 Roland Garros champion Simona Halep has reached at least one Grand Slam semifinal for five of the past six years, with 2016 being the only exception. Williams's record at this stage is an astonishing 31-5, and 10-1 at Wimbledon with her only loss coming to Venus Williams in 2000. Halep's overall record is 4-2, with the Romanian losing her only previous appearance in the last four of The Championships to Eugenie Bouchard in 2014.
Serena Williams and Barbora Strycova have played three times before, all at Grand Slams. Williams is yet to drop a set to the Czech, having won 6-0, 6-4 in the second round of the 2012 Australian Open, 6-2, 6-4 in the first round of Wimbledon 2012 and 7-5, 6-4 in the fourth round of the 2017 Australian Open.
Simona Halep and Elina Svitolina have played eight times previously - none on grass and only once in a Grand Slam. Halep took three of their first four meetings, while Svitolina has won three of their last four: the Romanian triumphed in straight sets in Sofia in 2013 and in Fed Cup zonal play in 2014; came from a set and 1-5 down, saving one match point, to win their 2017 Roland Garros quarterfinal; and snapped a three-match losing streak against the Ukrainian to take their most recent match 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 in the Doha semifinals this February. Svitolina's first win over Halep was in the 2017 Rome final, a victory she reprised the following year to defend her title, with her 6-0, 6-4 win in 2018 the culmination of a six-set winning streak that also included wins in Toronto and the WTA Finals in 2017.
None of the 2019 Wimbledon semifinalists have won a title this year yet, guaranteeing a 25th different titlist in 33 tournaments in 2019. Simona Halep is the only one to have reached a final this season (Dubai and Madrid); it is the fourth semifinal of the year for both Elina Svitolina (following Doha, Dubai and Indian Wells) and Barbora Strycova (following Istanbul, Prague and Birmingham), and the first semifinal for Serena Williams since last year's US Open.
The most recent titles won by each semifinalist were: for Svitolina, the 2018 WTA Finals Singapore; for Halep, Montréal 2018; for Strycova, Linz 2017; and for Williams, the 2017 Australian Open.
33-year-old Barbora Strycova is the oldest first-time Grand Slam semifinalist in the Open Era. Like the previous oldest last-four debutante, Roberta Vinci at the 2015 US Open, she will face Serena Williams at this stage. Strycova is the fifth player born in 1986 to reach a major semifinal - and her first comes exactly a decade after the first 1986-born player, Dinara Safina, reached her fifth and last semifinal at Wimbledon 2009. The remaining three were all 27 or over when they got to this stage for the first time - Kirsten Flipkens at Wimbledon 2013, Peng Shuai at the 2014 US Open and Elena Vesnina at Wimbledon 2016.
Elina Svitolina is the first Ukrainian in history to reach the semifinals of a Grand Slam - another national milestone from a tournament that saw two Ukrainians make the second week of Wimbledon for the first time along with Dayana Yastremska's fourth-round run. 19-year-old Yastremska became the sixth player from her country to reach week two of a major following Julia Vakulenko, Kateryna Bondarenko, Alona Bondarenko, Svitolina and Lesia Tsurenko; other than Svitolina, only Kateryna Bondarenko and Tsurenko have been Grand Slam quarterfinalists (at the 2009 and 2019 US Opens respectively).
Both Svitolina and Simona Halep are bidding to become the first woman from their country to reach the final of The Championships. At 37 years and 291 days, Serena Williams is seeking to become the oldest Grand Slam finalist in the Open Era, beating Martina Navratilova's current record - set at Wimbledon 1994 - by 33 days.
Barbora Strycova was the 2002 Wimbledon girls' doubles champion alongside Elke Clijsters; the pair defeated Allison Baker and Anna-Lena Groenefeld 6-4, 5-7, 8-6 in an epic final. Elina Svitolina was a two-time junior runner-up at SW19, partnering Irina Khromacheva to come runner-up in doubles to Timea Babos and Sloane Stephens in 2010 and losing the singles final to Eugenie Bouchard in 2012.
Barbora Strycova and Simona Halep have lost one set each en route to the last four - to Elise Mertens in the fourth round and Mihaela Buzarnescu in the second round respectively. Both Serena Williams and Elina Svitolina have lost two sets - the American to Kaja Juvan in the second round and Alison Riske in the quarterfinals, and the Ukrainian to Margarita Gasparyan in the second round and Maria Sakkari in the third round. Strycova is the only player to have beaten a Top 10 opponent so far, having upset No.4 seed Kiki Bertens in the third round.
Barbora Strycova has serve-and-volleyed behind 20% of her serves this fortnight so far - a total of 65 times. The remaining three semifinalists and serve-and-volleyed only five times between them. Serena Williams has struck a tournament-leading 41 aces so far.
The winner of the Simona Halep/Elina Svitolina semifinal will return to the Top 5 in next week's rankings, while the loser will end up at World No.7. Barbora Strycova is guaranteed to rise to World No.32, but needs a title to return to the Top 20 and hit a new career high ranking. Anastasija Sevastova will make her Top 10 debut unless Serena Williams defeats Strycova, and Petra Martic will make her Top 20 debut unless Strycova takes the title.
— espnW (@espnW) July 11, 2019
ORDER OF PLAY
For full order of play, visit wimbledon.com.
Seventeen years after Barbora Strycova defeated Maria Sharapova to win her first junior Grand Slam, the Czech has reached her first singles Grand Slam semifinal - but she's still impatient by nature, writes Ben Rothenberg for the New York Times.
Elina Svitolina's semifinal breakthrough has also been a long time coming, says Jordaan Sanford for Tennis.com - but it's given the Ukrainian a chance to heal an old wound, writes Matt Zemek for Tennis With An Accent.
Serena Williams has been battle-hardened over the past two weeks, which could prove crucial when she takes on Barbora Strycova, writes WTA Insider Courtney Nguyen - but she should beware of the Czech's ability to surprise, says Jane Voigt for Tennis With An Accent.