On Manic Monday, it was all business for Serena Williams. Contesting her 16th Wimbledon fourth-round match, she raced past Carla Suarez Navarro, 6-2, 6-2, to reach her 14th quarterfinal at the grass-court major. She also extended her Wimbledon record to 79 straight-set wins.
"I definitely feel like I'm getting better and better day by day. But, you know, every match is still super hard," said Serena. "Like even today I won a lot of points. It wasn't like your average 6-2, 6-2 score. Wasn't too many 40-Love games at all actually. I think everyone is also getting better. As the tournament goes on, that's when the better players are surviving."
Suarez Navarro came into the match seeking her first win against the 37-year-old American, but once again, she came up woefully short. In her seven matches against Serena, she has yet to win even so much as a set. In a minor victory, the Spaniard didn't surrender a bagel set to Serena, which she's done five previous times.
In today's match, Serena jumped out to comfortable leads in each set, and never let Suarez Navarro back in. She was going for the lines, forcing Suarez Navarro to play well above her game. Up 3-0 in the second set, a scrappy game cost the seven-time Wimbledon champion one break, but it wasn’t nearly enough to put a dent in her gilded armor.
One thing that stood out about Serena today was her calmness. Case in point: after reaching over the net, she was denied a point that would have given her a second break in the first set. But instead of arguing with the umpire or focusing on what could have been, she accepted it, walked back to the baseline, and a couple of points later, she was rewarded with the break.
“I think I play pretty good when I'm calm, but also super intense, just finding the balance in between there,” said Serena. “So it's a hard balance to find because sometimes when I'm too calm, I don't have enough energy. Still trying to find that balance.”
Chasing her 24th major, and her first since giving birth to her first child, Serena is bidding to break her own record of oldest woman to win a singles major—she did it at 35 years old at the 2017 Australian Open.
“Getting to the top is often fun. You have nothing to lose, especially if you've never been there. It's like a great climb,” said Serena. “Sustaining that for years and years takes a lot of work, a ton of work. You don't want to fall because you know what it's like to be at the top, you know how it feels. At least I do, I know how it feels, how you want to stay there, how you want to get back there.”
For a spot in the final four, the 23-time Grand Slam champion will play fellow American Alison Riske, who pulled a stunning upset against top-seeded Ashleigh Barty earlier on Monday, winning 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, to reach her first Grand Slam quarterfinal.
"I think it's super exciting. I played doubles with Serena, but never played against her," said Riske. "It will be an interesting match. Again, I think today was a great preparation for me going into the Serena match. Again, 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, but I'm really looking forward to it."