London: Defending champion Serena Williams withstood stiff early resistance from unseeded Czech Petra Kvitova before winning 7-6 6-2 to reach her sixth Wimbledon singles final on Thursday.
“I definitely worked really hard,” the top seed said in a courtside interview. “I didn’t expect to get as far at the beginning of the tournament.
“It’s such a blessing to still be in the tournament.”
Kvitova, the world number 62, had been expected to be little more than a sacrificial lamb on Williams’ route to a fourth crown at the All England Club, but the feisty Czech gave as good as she got in a tight first set.
She broke the Williams serve in the fifth game but the American levelled and took the tiebreak 7-5. Kvitova battled defiantly in the second set but a double fault to hand Williams a double break at 5-2 meant there was no way back.
She served out for the match, clinching victory when a stone dead net cord fell short of Kvitova’s outstretched racket after an hour and 33 minutes.
She will play Russian 21st seed Vera Zvonareva in Saturday’s final.