Barbora Strycova achieved her best grand slam singles result when she reached the Wimbledon semi-finals, but the Czech is finding it tough to build on last month's unforeseen success.

Strycova lost in the first round of the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, and after a first-round bye at the Bronx Open this week the 33-year-old bowed out in her opening singles match.

The third seed – long considered a doubles specialist – was beaten 3-6 6-2 6-1 by American wildcard Bernarda Pera at the WTA International tournament played in the most northerly of New York City's five boroughs. The venue is a short drive from Flushing Meadows, which stages the US Open next week.

Italian Camila Giorgi came through a tough encounter with experienced German Andrea Petkovic, grinding out a 3-6 7-5 7-6 (7-3) success.

Fifth seed Katerina Siniakova was on court for just 48 minutes, leading Anastasia Potapova 6-0 3-0 when the Russian qualifier retired.

It was one of two retirements with Zhu Lin also departing while trailing 7-6 (7-5) 4-0 to Alize Cornet.

Serena Williams powered through to an 11th Wimbledon final and to the brink of history as she swept aside Barbora Strycova on Centre Court.

The American, at the age of 37, handed a thumping 6-1 6-2 lesson to Czech Strycova, whose first singles semi-final at a grand slam proved distinctly one-sided.

Victory for Williams sets up a shot at a record-equalling 24th grand slam title, with Romanian Simona Halep the player standing in her way of matching Australian Margaret Court's all-time tally in Saturday's final.

Williams, hunting an eighth Wimbledon crown, said: "It definitely feels good to be back in the final."

Strycova was making her own history, at 33 becoming the oldest first-time women's singles semi-finalist in an open era grand slam.

But her pre-match mention of having nothing to fear invited the suspicion that she thought it was a different Serena Williams on the other side of the net; not the women who had beaten her in three previous grand slam matches without dropping a set.

And rather than having nothing to lose, as Strycova ventured, this was unquestionably the greatest opportunity of her career.

Privately, she would surely have acknowledged that, and perhaps feared her crafty game would be picked apart.

Talking about combating Williams, and turning an all-to-gain mentality into points on the board, has always been different to the harsh reality.

And after finding her feel for the contest, Williams broke in the fourth game, creaming a crosscourt forehand past Strycova at the net.

Williams then held serve to love in a flash, helped by a pair of aces, broke again after setting up the chance with a fizzing backhand down the line, and took the opening set with a perfect drop volley followed by an ace out wide.

Breaks in the fifth and seventh games of the second set confirmed the gulf between this unlikely semi-final pairing, with Williams sealing victory when Strycova could only poke a serve back over the net and watch it returned with interest into an empty court.

Williams won her 23rd grand slam title in Australia two and a half years ago, since when she has married and become a mother.

The wait for the 24th slam has included defeats in the Wimbledon and US Open finals last year, and now Halep awaits her in another All England Club final.

It has a similar feel to last year's title match, when German left-hander Angelique Kerber was written off by many yet beat Williams with some comfort.

Halep brushed aside Elina Svitolina 6-1 6-3 earlier in the day, and Williams said: "She's tough. She played unbelievable today. We've played on grass before and we've always had good matches. I look forward to it."


STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN

Serena Williams [11] bt Barbora Strycova 6-1 6-2

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Williams – 27/10
Strycova – 8/10

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Williams – 4/1
Strycova – 1/1

BREAK POINTS WON

Williams – 4/5
Strycova – 0/3

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE

Williams - 60
Strycova - 61

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE

Williams – 88/53
Strycova – 52/44

TOTAL POINTS

Williams - 53
Strycova - 31

Johanna Konta was angered by a reporter's "patronising" question following her Wimbledon quarter-final defeat to Barbora Strycova.

World number 18 Konta slipped out in the last eight on Tuesday, going down 7-6 (7-5) 6-1 on Centre Court despite taking a 4-1 lead in the first set.

Strycova will now meet seven-time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams in the semi-finals, with the 11th seed having overcome Alison Riske.

Konta was the clear favourite against Strycova but appeared to lose her composure in the second set as the world number 54 cruised to a convincing victory and a first singles appearance in the last four of a major.

When a reporter suggested she could have performed better on key points, Konta replied: "Is that in your professional tennis opinion?

"I don't think you need to pick on me, in a harsh way. I'm very open with [the media] and I say how I feel out there.

"If you don't want to accept that answer or you don't agree with it that's fine, but I still believe in the tennis I play and still believe in the way I competed."

Asked if she wanted to win a grand slam in the future, Konta said: "Please don't patronise me.

"In the way you're asking your question, you are being quite disrespectful and you are patronising me.

"I'm a professional competitor who did her best today, and that's all there is to that."

However, Konta felt her performance in her French Open semi-final defeat to Marketa Vondrousova in June was of a higher quality.

"I thought I played better in my French semi-final," she said.

"I thought the conditions were a lot trickier in terms of the conditions we played in. There was a lot more wind and things like that. I think that played a factor.

"Player-wise, they're probably a little similar. I mean, slightly different court, as well, different surface. But no, actually I thought I played better there than in this match."

Barbora Strycova earned a Wimbledon semi-final clash with Serena Williams as the Czech doubles specialist stunned British hope Johanna Konta.

On her 53rd singles mission in a grand slam, Strycova has achieved a monumental breakthrough, having only ever previously reached one quarter-final.

She beat Konta 7-6 (7-5) 6-1 on Centre Court, and on Thursday the 33-year-old will tackle Williams, 37, for a place in the final.

Williams has won all three of their past meetings, including a first-round Wimbledon clash seven years ago, without dropping a set. She is also chasing a record-tying 24th grand slam singles triumph.

But arguably she has never played Strycova in such form, with Konta confounded and exasperated by the manner of this defeat.

Konta led 4-1 against the world number 54 in the first set but gave the early break back, and a to-and-fro tie-break looked to be heading the Briton's way once she reeled off three stunning passing shots.

Three times a grand slam semi-finalist, Konta's level dipped to damaging effect at a critical juncture. Defending a set point on her own serve, she ploughed a forehand into the net.

Strycova was full of tricks, executing drop shots with a greater element of surprise than those dispatched from the Konta racket, and showing the deft touch expected of a player ranked third in the world in doubles.

She made an early move in the second set, opening up three break points when a cross-court passing shot wrongfooted Konta. On the second of those points, Konta jabbed a backhand wide and looked bewildered by the state of play.

Konta saved break point in the sixth game with a fine drop volley, only to double-fault and flay a drive volley long and wide to give up the double break.

There was no way back, Konta spearing a backhand long on match point as her title hopes, and British interest in the singles, were vanquished.

Strycova was asked how being a semi-finalist felt and said: "It sounds crazy but it's happening."

She added: "I am extremely happy, and my voice is shaking still right now because I can't believe it.

"I enjoyed it, it was a very special moment for me."

As for facing Williams, she said: "It's a great week to play her and a match I really look forward to playing."

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN
Barbora Strycova bt Johanna Konta [19] 7-6 (7-5) 6-1

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Strycova – 22/9
Konta – 28/34

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Strycova – 4/3
Konta – 3/1

BREAK POINTS WON
Strycova – 3/7
Konta – 1/2

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Strycova - 69
Konta – 62

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Strycova – 67/74
Konta – 51/64

TOTAL POINTS
Strycova - 72
Konta – 56

World number one Ashleigh Barty and Karolina Pliskova crashed out as the women's quarter-final draw opened up at Wimbledon.

Barty went down 3-6 6-2 6-3 in a compelling contest against Alison Riske on No. 2 Court, while Czech Republic's third seed Pliskova went down to compatriot Karolina Muchova 4-6 7-5 13-11 in an epic encounter.

Riske will face Serena Williams – a 6-2 6-2 winner over Carla Suarez Navarro - in an all-American quarter but 15-year-old sensation Cori Gauff had her superb run at SW19 ended by Simona Halep in straight sets.

Halep is now the highest seed left in the draw after Britain's Johanna Konta kept home interest alive with a thrilling 4-6 6-2 6-4 win over world number six Petra Kvitova.
 

BARTY'S HOT STREAK COMES TO AN END

French Open champion Barty had not lost for two months heading into her fourth-round match but had no complaints as Riske turned in a stirring display.

"Overall I didn't play a poor match. When I needed to, when the big moments were there, Alison played better," she said. "Tough one to swallow but I lost to a better player."

Riske is relishing her reward of a showdown with Williams, who she has partnered in Fed Cup doubles.

"I think it's super exciting. I played doubles with Serena, but never played against her. It will be an interesting match," she said.

"I'm ready for a war. She's the greatest athlete I think that's ever been on the women's side. It's going to be a huge challenge."

GAUFF EXIT TOUGH TO STOMACH

Already a favourite at the All England Club, Gauff was unable to overturn the odds once more against the former world number one Halep.

The youngster seemed to be hindered by illness and called for the doctor in the second set.

"I wasn't feeling 100 per cent. I still tried my best. Simona played really well," she said after losing 6-3 6-3.

"I learned a lot. I learned how to play in front of a big crowd. I learned what it was like to be under pressure. I'm really thankful for this experience."
 

KONTA KEEPS HOME FIRES BURNING

Konta will meet veteran Barbora Strycova – a winner in three against Belgium's Elise Mertens - after bringing Centre Court to its feet at the end of a gruelling battle.

Two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova did not go down without a fight, saving two match points and breaking Konta to recover from 5-1 down to make it 5-4 in the decider, but the elated 19th seed finished the job.

"Petra started playing incredibly freely and hitting through the ball. The balls were coming at 100 miles-an-hour to me," Konta, who assuaged fears over the ankle treatment she received during the match, told BBC.

"I'm tremendously grateful to be here. The way I'm competing, I'm really happy with that."

SVITOLINA LANDING BLOWS ON OTHER SIDE OF THE DRAW

China's world number 50 Shuai Zhang is up next for Halep after beating teenager Dayana Yastremska 6-4 1-6 6-2 to reach a first quarter-final since the 2016 Australian Open.

Yastremska's fellow Ukrainian Elina Svitolina, the number eight seed, brushed aside Petra Martic in straight sets to set up a meeting with surprise package Muchova.

A keen boxing fan, Svitolina will be optimistic of sealing semi-final berth and potentially landing a knockout blow on one of the favourites.

"I love watching it. In Ukraine there is great fighters," she said, while pursuing a triumph that could place her alongside the Klitschko brothers and Vasyl Lomachenko in her nation's affections.

"I'm a big fan of [Anthony Joshua]. Unfortunately, [his] last fight wasn't great."

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