Serena Williams will face long-term rival Maria Sharapova in a mouth-watering Wimbledon semi-final as the top seed battled to a three-set win over Belarus’ Victoria Azarenka.
Victory took the big-hitting American another step closer to a possible calendar Grand Slam, with the reigning Australian and French Open champion now the overwhelming favourite to complete the third leg of the historic feat.
That there are no other true big-hitters left in the women’s singles draw will aid her case only former world number one Azarenka had the power to match Williams, and even she could not cope, the 20-time major champion triumphing 3-6 6-2 6-3 on Centre Court.
Sharapova was also forced to go the distance to seal her place in the final four, with the Russian recovering from a second set blip to beat big-hitting American Coco Vandeweghe 6-3 6-7 [3-7] 6-2.
Former finalist Agnieszka Radwanska will face Spain’s Garbine Muguruza in the other side of the draw.
The 26-year-old Pole overcame rising American star Madison Keys in a tight contest on Court One, progressing to the semis with a 7-6 [7-3] 3-6 6-3 triumph, while 20th seed Muguruza beat Switzerland’s Timea Bacsinszky in straight sets, winning 7-5 6-3.
Earlier on Tuesday, men’s world number one Novak Djokovic completed a thrilling comeback against Kevin Anderson to seal a spot in the quarter-finals with a five-set win.
The sublime Serb looked far from his best as 29-year-old Anderson who impressed in a run to the final at this year’s Aegon Championships at Queens took the first two sets of their fourth round clash on Monday evening.
But Djokovic used every ounce of his champion qualities to battle back, levelling against the big serving South African at two sets all before the match was halted due to bad light.
Play resumed on Tuesday morning and while it proved another enthralling contest, one bad service game from Anderson was all Djokovic needed, as the number one seed pounced to take the final set, and the match – winning 6-7 [6/8] 6-7 [6/8] 6-1 6-4 7-5.
Elsewhere, Britain’s Jamie ensured at least one Murray will be in the Wimbledon last four, as Andy’s brother and his Australian doubles partner John Peers beat Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares 6-4 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 in their quarter-final tie.
Andy Murray will face unseeded Canadian Vasek Pospisil for a place in the men’s singles semi-finals on Wednesday.