Fear of failure spurs Serena on

Sports | 12 Jul 2018

As Serena Williams prepares for her 35th Grand Slam semi-final, the American star says a fear of failure is driving her bid for an eighth Wimbledon title.

The former world No 1 avoided a major upset as she battled back to beat unseeded Camila Giorgi 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in a Center Court thriller.

Her quarter-final escape act set up a last-four showdown with German 13th seed Julia Goerges today.

Williams, 36, hasn't won a Grand Slam since becoming a mother in September. Her last trophy came at the 2017 Australian Open.

"You're only as good as your last win. It's been a while since I've won a championship," she said.

But the 23-time major winner is heavily favored to end her wait this week, fuelled by the thought of suffering the painful sting left by her rare defeats.

"I hate losing. I mean, that's no secret. But I feel like every time I lose, I get better," she said. "It's important for me to have the losses. Just the fewer the better for me!"

Williams is playing only her fourth tournament since giving birth for the first time.

Having shaken off the rust following her lengthy layoff after the complications with her daughter's birth, she is on the verge of a 10th Wimbledon final appearance, and 30th in all Grand Slams.

"Everything right now is a little bit of a surprise, to be here, to be in the semi-finals," she said. "I always say I plan on it. But when it actually happens, it still is, like, 'Wow, this is really happening.'"

With daughter Olympia's arrival and her marriage to husband Alexis Ohanian both taking place since she was last at Wimbledon, this year's campaign has a unique feel.

"It's different now obviously because I have the baby. Being a mom is totally different," she said. "I just want to be more of that role model for my daughter, for lots of people out there that just want to be inspired. Here is some good news. Right now there's so much bad news in the world. We just need a good story."

Having won the title in the previous two years she played Wimbledon in 2015 and 2016, Williams, who missed last year's event due to her pregnancy, has extended her winning streak at the All England Club to 19 matches.

In contrast, Goerges, 29, is in the Wimbledon semi-finals for the first time. She had suffered five successive opening round defeats at the All England Club before this year. It also took her until her 42nd Grand Slam appearance to finally get through to the last four at a major.

Yet she insists she can cause a massive upset.

"It is a great opportunity to play Serena here, where she has won so many times and is a great champion. I think everyone here has a great chance so you have to take it," Goerges said.

Angelique Kerber, the German 11th seed, faces former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in the other semi-final.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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