Serena Williams is to progress to the semi-final round of the Wimbledon tournament after a decisive win over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova on Tuesday. Winning the tournament sets the tennis star up for her 22nd grand slam, and she would match the current record set by Steffi Graf.
At 34 years old, Serena, the tennis champion and current defending champion of the Wimbledon contest, shows no signs of giving in at any point. Pavlyuchenkova, currently ranked as the 21st seed, took aim during their match, but struggled to fend off the veteran’s expertise on the grass courts of Wimbledon. She took shot after shot, but a series of errors gave Serena the upper hand throughout.
After her victory against Pavlyuchenkova as well as her and her sister’s victories in the doubles competition, Serena noted how surprised she was that her career has been so long. Though, neither Serena nor her sister Venus have discussed retirement.
Williams also mentioned how strong her serve was, noting that she is not as tall as the other champions. Despite her height, she credits her success to her focus and dedication to the game in times of triumph and times of defeat.
While physical agility and mental toughness may play a strong role in Serena’s success in London, there are other motivators. The winner of the singles tournament at the 2016 Wimbledon tournament will take home two million pounds sterling, a 6.4 percent rise from 2015’s prize money. The doubles winner takes home 350,000 pounds in cash prizes.
Serena is a likely candidate for the top singles prize this year, particularly after her resounding success in last year’s tournament and her current status as the world’s number one player. However, her sister Venus remains close behind.
Venus has been playing with momentous force in this year’s tournament. On Tuesday, she beat Yaroslava Shvedova, when Venus, at age 36, became the oldest player to make the semi-finals at a grand slam tournament since 1994 when Martina Navratilova passed the mark at the All England Club at the tender age of 37.
However, difficult tasks lie ahead for both Serena and Venus. Serena will need to dominate in the match against Elena Vesnina, who is currently unranked. Venus will play Angelique Kerber, who won the Australian Open earlier in the year.
Reports predict Serena to be victorious, and her sister has met her fair share of battles recently.
Venus has not made the top four at a major since the 2010 U.S. Open. In 2011, she was diagnosed with the autoimmune disorder Sjogren’s syndrome. The disease is a tennis superstar’s nightmare, and it’s associated with joint pain and extreme fatigue.
No cure is currently available for the condition. Venus changed her diet; however, the nature of the disease means that even with lifestyle adaptations, she cannot predict when her symptoms will flare up.
Still, Venus has been putting in the effort in training to prepare for the year’s season. The grand slam champion trained in Florida, where her coach said she “was putting in time on and off the court.”
As Venus takes her opponent to task, Serena will need to do the same to defend her own titles.
If both sisters are successful, the tournament risks another all-Williams final. Venus and Serena have squared off four times in London, in 2002, 2003, 2008, and 2009. Serena won three of the matches while Venus took the top prize in 2008.
Still, playing their sister will not make the task at hand any easier. Serena has been known to describe Venus as her toughest opponent.
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