Serena Williams, Ash Barty each one win away from a Wimbledon showdown

Serena Williams, Ash Barty each one win away from a Wimbledon showdown

Both players advanced with relative ease in their third-round matches on Saturday, with Serena defeating Julia Goerges and Barty dispatching Harriet Dart.

In a rematch of last year’s Wimbledon semifinal, Serena Williams extended her winning record against Julia Goerges with a 6-3, 6-4 victory on Saturday to move into the fourth round. Serena has now won all 10 sets played in her five wins over the German.

Before last year’s semifinal run, Goerges had failed to win a match at the grass-court major event since 2012. In June, she made the Birmingham final, losing to Ashleigh Barty.

“It’s the first time I’ve looked forward coming onto grass!” Goerges admitted. “People always said I should be a very good grass court player but it never showed up on the results, so I was a bit frustrated. Last year changed a lot, and I was really looking forward to coming back here and I think I’ve proved I play well on grass.”

On Saturday, it was Goerges who blinked first as Serena broke in the sixth game to go up 4-2. Despite trailing, the 30-year-old continue to match the American’s intensity. Serena, who has had trouble closing out sets and matches lately due to lack of match-play, needed three set points to claim the opening set, hitting a forehand cross-court that kissed the line.

Goerges stayed with Serena on serve, upping her game off the ground, taking more chances than she did in the first. That did not deter the 11th seed, who kept on pressing and finally getting the break in the fifth game. That was the only break Serena needed as she consolidated at love and held in the 10th game to capture the match in straight sets. Stats-wise, she hit seven aces, won 10 of 11 net points, and did not face a break point.

"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."

Serena, who is chasing Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 majors, will next meet 30th seed Carla Suarez Navarro, who defeated lucky loser Lauren Davis, 6-3, 6-3. The 37-year-old has won all 12 sets she’s played against the Spaniard but the two have never met on grass. Should she get past the fourth round, Serena could meet top seed Ashleigh Barty in the quarterfinals.

The Australian, making her Centre Court debut, notched her 15th consecutive win, handily dispatching wild card Harriet Dart, 6-1, 6-1, in 52 minutes. Showing no signs of slowing down in her first major as a world No. 1, Barty was extremely clean off the ground, producing just six unforced errors whilst connecting for 25 winners, 11 of which were aces.

Barty has not dropped a set during the grass season, having backed up her surprise French Open title with the Birmingham crown. She will next take on arguably the second hottest player on tour right now in Alison Riske. The American rallied past Belinda Bencic, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, to post her 13th victory in 14 grass matches following titles at the ITF W100 event in Surbiton and WTA tournament in Den Bosch for her second tour-level trophy.