Welcome to Wimbledon Rewind, where wtatennis.com takes a look back at some of the most memorable matches from the past two decades at The Championships. From breakthroughs to comebacks, rewind the clock and check out our list of the best semifinal matches, laid out in chronological order.
Wimbledon Round Reviews
Gauff ascends, Serena survives through first round thrillers
Venus, Navratilova, Date turn back the clock in second round classics
Serena survives Watson, Kvitova conquers Venus in first-week finishes
Kerber, Lisicki, Cibulkova bring fourth-round fire with epic battles
Graf holds off Venus, Serena’s surges and more Wimbledon quarterfinals
1999:  Stefanie Graf def. Mirjana Lucic, 6-7(3), 6-4, 6-3
Stefanie Graf spent 1999 battling a rising charge of teenagers. After a tight loss to 16-year-old Serena Williams in the Indian Wells final, Graf famously earned her 22nd Grand Slam title with a tremendous comeback win over 18-year-old Martina Hingis at Roland Garros.
A giddy Graf was thrilled by her first major title since 1996, but she freely admitted in Paris that her optimal goal was "to get in a few matches before Wimbledon, not really thinking I'd be doing that well."
Firmly eyeing an eighth Wimbledon title, 30-year-old Graf again had to quell the youngsters in London, and after wins over teenagers Kim Clijsters and Venus Williams, 17-year-old Mirjana Lucic was the German’s semifinal opponent.
At age 15, Lucic won the title in her debut WTA tournament in Bol, and reached the Top 40 in 1998 at age 16. Her ranking had slipped to World No.134 by 1999 Wimbledon, but the Croatian phenom still made an overpowering run to the final four, which included a hard-hitting 7-6, 7-6 thriller over Monica Seles in the third round.
In their semifinal tilt, Graf led 5-4 in the first set before the ferocious forehands of Lucic helped the teenager squeak out the first set in a tiebreak, including a return off that wing to force an error from the German on set point.
Bit by bit, though, Graf pulled herself back into the match, as her sturdy game stayed unwavering. The German star was tested in the final two sets but nevertheless closed out the victory in an hour and 50 minutes.
“These young girls, they're playing aggressive tennis,” the victor stated, as she moved into her ninth Wimbledon final. “It's good that they're taking the risk and they don't have fear of it.”
2001:  Justine Henin def.  Jennifer Capriati, 2-6, 6-4, 6-2
Jennifer Capriati and Justine Henin both came into 2001 Wimbledon after deep runs at Roland Garros, but their paths diverged at the latter end of the year’s previous Grand Slam. Henin had let a commanding lead slip away in her Paris semifinal against fellow Belgian teenager Kim Clijsters, while Capriati overcame Clijsters in an epic final to win her second major title of the season.
A calendar year Grand Slam was a distinct possibility for Capriati, who had won her first two majors in 2001, fulfilling her heavily lauded potential from a decade prior. The American had blasted to the quarterfinals without the loss of a set before ousting Serena Williams in a hard-earned three-set win.
Capriati started her semifinal against Henin in strong fashion as well, losing only four points in her first four service games en route to a 6-2 lead. Still, Henin kept fighting, using her one-handed backhand to set up finishing volleys, and she leveled the match at one set all.
Henin stormed through the decider, and even a brief rain shower at 4-1 did not disrupt the Belgian’s momentum. If Henin had rued her missed opportunity for a first major final in Paris, she made up for it in spades here, flinging her racquet into the air after converting her second match point to become the first Belgian woman in a Wimbledon singles final.
“After the French, I only took two days of rest because I wanted to work very hard, because I knew that I could win the semifinal in the French,” Henin stated, after her Wimbledon semifinal win. “I said, ‘Okay, next time I will take this opportunity.’”
“I think that when I had the possibility to win the match, I did different from the French, for sure,” the burgeoning Belgian concluded.
2003:  Venus Williams def.  Kim Clijsters, 4-6, 6-3, 6-1
Seeking her fourth consecutive final at SW19, Venus Williams found herself in an unfamiliar position in the 2003 Wimbledon semifinals -- as the lower seed.
The 2000 and 2001 Wimbledon champion had played her three previous semifinals on the London lawns as the favorite, at least according to the seeding chart. This time around, though, she was paired against Kim Clijsters, who had recently ascended to World No.2 and had just reached the Roland Garros final.
The combatants had already faced off six times in their rivalry, with Williams holding the 4-2 edge, but that did not stop Clijsters from starting off their Wimbledon encounter with a bang.
The Belgian picked up the first two games of the match, and though Williams clawed the break back, Clijsters regained her edge, taking the opening set. Williams also struggled with a stomach injury during the clash.
“As a rule, I never play with pain,” Williams said, after the match. “I just felt this time -- I just wanted to win, basically.”
After a rain delay, Williams wrested control of the match away from Clijsters. A flurry of five breaks in a row left Williams standing with a 5-3 lead in the second frame, and the American at last held onto serve to clinch the set.
In the decider, the powerful groundstrokes from Williams trumped the speed and determination of Clijsters, and the former World No.1 moved into yet another Wimbledon final, where she would face her sister Serena for the second season in a row.
“I just kept telling myself, ‘Venus, do what you’re doing in practice,’” said Williams. “‘If you win, lose, draw, fall off, fall down, whatever’ -- just do what I was taught to do."
2004:  Maria Sharapova def.  Lindsay Davenport, 2-6, 7-6(5), 6-1
Coming into 2004 Wimbledon, Lindsay Davenport had not made a Grand Slam final in three-and-a-half years. Seeded fifth, the 1999 Wimbledon champion saw daylight in her half of the draw, as she was the highest-seeded player to reach the quarterfinals on that side.
A swift quarterfinal win over Karolina Sprem meant that a semifinal tussle with the No.13 seed was the only task between former World No.1 Davenport and her third Wimbledon final.
But No.13 had not been unlucky for 17-year-old Maria Sharapova that fortnight, as she was in her first-ever major semifinal. The rapidly rising Russian had exhibited a strong lead-up month en route to Wimbledon, during which she made her first Grand Slam quarterfinal at Roland Garros and won her first grass-court title in Birmingham.
Davenport, though, held the upper hand for the first half of the match, serving sublimely as she romped through the first set in less than half an hour. The big-hitting American was undeterred by an hour-long rain delay during the second set as she built a 3-1 lead.
There, though, Sharapova started to match Davenport in consistency as well as aggression, and after claiming her first service break of the match to hit 3-3, the Russian held firm as the duo moved into a tiebreak.
Davenport held break points late in the second set, but never reached match point, and Sharapova successfully took her shot in the breaker, firing a forehand to close out the tense tiebreak. With new life, Sharapova raced through the final set to capture a comeback win and blast into a maiden Grand Slam final.
“I knew that I could achieve many things if I worked hard and if I believed in myself,” a stunned Sharapova stated, after the match. “Getting to the final of Wimbledon, my favorite tournament, is just amazing.”
2007:  Marion Bartoli def.  Justine Henin, 1-6, 7-5, 6-1
Justine Henin came into 2007 Wimbledon in a rich vein of form, having already won five titles that year, including a third consecutive Roland Garros crown. The World No.1 had won the preceding grass-court event in Eastbourne, bolstering her confidence to finally grab the one major title that eluded her.
The Belgian’s semifinal opponent, Marion Bartoli, was at a very different stage of her career. The 22-year-old had been a junior stalwart earlier in the decade, but had yet to make it beyond the fourth round of a Grand Slam event before that fortnight.
Henin had routinely defeated the rising Frenchwoman in the same round at Eastbourne less than two weeks prior, and after a 22-minute first set in their Wimbledon semifinal, another decisive victory for the Belgian seemed in the offing.
However, Bartoli kept her footing, and stayed close in the second set behind some crunching service returns with her double-handed forehand and backhand. The underdog broke Henin four times in that topsy-turvy set, including at 6-5 to eke out level pegging at one set apiece.
In the third set, Bartoli kept charging while Henin’s shots found the court less frequently. Bartoli dominated the decider with tremendous composure to earn the wholly unexpected upset and reach her first major final, while Henin missed another chance to complete her Grand Slam set.
Bartoli had a secret weapon the whole time, though. “I saw Pierce Brosnan in the crowd, which is one of my favorite actors,” said the Frenchwoman. “I said to myself, ‘It's not possible I play so bad in front of him.’”
“So I try to feel it a bit more, the ball, play more smartly,” the surprise finalist continued. “I saw he was cheering for me, so I said, ‘Oh, maybe it's good.’ I kept going and I won, so maybe a little bit for Pierce Brosnan!”
2009:  Serena Williams def.  Elena Dementieva, 6-7(4), 7-5, 8-6
Serena Williams entered 2009 Wimbledon on a mission to reclaim the grass-court Grand Slam title. The American star had not triumphed at SW19 since the second of her back-to-back titles in 2003, and a runner-up showing to her sister Venus in 2008 had not satiated her desire for more glory on the London lawns.
“I never want to become satisfied with what I may or may not have done, because I feel like there's so much more I would like to do,” Williams said, following her quarterfinal victory over Victoria Azarenka.
Back in the Wimbledon semifinals for the sixth time, Williams would meet Elena Dementieva, who had reached her first Wimbledon semifinal just the year prior, before losing to Venus Williams.
After that 2008 Wimbledon breakthrough, Dementieva became Olympic champion merely weeks later. The Russian gold medalist returned to the Wimbledon semifinals without dropping a set, as she hoped for a maiden Grand Slam title.
Williams held a 5-3 head-to-head lead coming into their battle, but Dementieva had won three of their last four matches, including a comeback quarterfinal victory during the Russian’s triumphant run at the Beijing Olympics.
Therefore, it wasn’t too much of a surprise when Dementieva came out swinging, as her flat-hitting power game helped her eke out the opening frame in a tiebreak. As the duo blasted pinpoint groundstrokes at each other, Williams regrouped in the second set to level the match.
Dementieva, though, stayed solid, and held one match point at 5-4 in the final set. But a magical Williams volley picked off the Russian's passing shot to erase the chance, and the American was eventually able to grit out an epic victory after two hours and 49 minutes -- which clocked in as Wimbledon’s longest women’s singles semifinal in the Open Era.
“I guess I'm always trying to do something to make history, so here I go again,” Williams smiled, after her hard-earned win propelled her into another Wimbledon final.
2013:  Sabine Lisicki def.  Agnieszka Radwanska, 6-4, 2-6, 9-7
Sabine Lisicki had a pattern: come to Wimbledon, beat the reigning French Open champion, make the quarterfinals or better.
She had done it in her last three Wimbledon appearances coming into the 2013 Championships, and this time was no different: the German stunned reigning Roland Garros champion Serena Williams in the fourth round, ending the American star’s 34-match winning streak.
As she had also done in 2011, Lisicki moved into the semifinals, and the Wimbledon maven was determined to make 2013 the year she played in the championship match.
Standing in Lisicki’s way, though, was Agnieszka Radwanska, who had reached the Wimbledon final the year before, and was just as hungry to go one step further after falling to Williams in three sets in 2012.
In the first set, Lisicki was in the mood to stifle Radwanska’s goals, often booming serves over 120 miles per hour and grasping the one-set lead. The crafty Pole, though, dug out deft shots with her signature crouches to tie up the affair after a swift second set.
Radwanska held the initial momentum in the third set, leaping ahead 3-0, but the powerful play from Lisicki won her three games in a row to reach parity. The intense decider continued, and, after failing to serve out the match at 5-4, Lisicki got a second opportunity at 8-7.
Lisicki closed out the match with a forehand winner, claiming a spot in her first major final with her seventh upset of a Top 10 player throughout her Wimbledon career. She became the first German woman to reach a Grand Slam singles final since Stefanie Graf won at 1999 Roland Garros.
Following her 19th win in her last 22 matches at SW19, Lisicki said that Wimbledon is “the best place to play my first Grand Slam final. I couldn't imagine any better place.”
2015:  Garbiñe Muguruza def.  Agnieszka Radwanska, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3
At the start of 2015 Wimbledon, Garbiñe Muguruza had been hovering at the bottom end of the Top 20 for months, threatening to break through to the bigtime. The Spaniard had just reached her second straight Roland Garros quarterfinal, and always had potential to spring an upset.
However, Muguruza was wary about her Wimbledon chances, and expressed that via text message to the most recent Spaniard to hoist the Wimbledon trophy -- Conchita Martinez.
“We were laughing, you know, when the tournament started because I was like, ‘Conchita, I'm not sure about grass,’” Muguruza admitted. “She's like, ‘Come on, you can play good.’”
Once the event commenced, Muguruza brought her A-game. She defeated fellow seeds Angelique Kerber, Caroline Wozniacki, and Timea Bacsinszky to make her first-ever Grand Slam semifinal.
Muguruza said that Martinez was “telling me every day, every match, ‘Keep going, you're doing great.’ Giving me power.”
Agnieszka Radwanska was Muguruza’s semifinal opponent; the Polish fan favorite was back in the Wimbledon semifinals for the third time as she tried to slice and dice her way to a maiden Grand Slam title.
Muguruza breezed through the opening set behind powerful groundstrokes. Radwanska’s service returns picked up, though, and after falling behind an early break in the second set, the 2012 Wimbledon runner-up won five games in a row to tie up the match.
However, in the final set, a crosscourt backhand winner gave Muguruza a break for 4-2, and she never relinquished that lead. A thumped forehand winner finished off the victory for Muguruza, who moved into both her first Grand Slam final and the Top 10 of the WTA rankings.
Muguruza was surely pleased with Martinez’s texts throughout the fortnight -- the 1994 Wimbledon champion was in Muguruza’s coaching box when she won the Wimbledon title two years later.