Serena Williams comes back from first-set loss to advance to Wimbledon semifinals

Even when she lost her opening set Tuesday to Italy’s Camila Giorgi, Serena Williams didn’t lose her cool.

The seven-time Wimbledon winner bounced back in a quarterfinal match to win 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 and maintain her status as the favorite in the women’s draw.

“It’s weird,” she said. “Sometimes I feel, ‘Man, I’m in trouble.’ Sometimes I feel, I can fight. For whatever reason, today I was so calm. Even when I was down the first set, I thought, ‘Well, she’s playing great. I’m doing a lot of the right things. It is what it is.’ ”

Williams will play Germany’s Julia Goerges, who before this tournament had never made it past the fourth round of a Grand Slam event. So this is uncharted territory for the No. 13 player in the world.


“I don’t have many words today to describe the moment I’m going through right now,” said Goerges, who beat Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands 3-6, 7-5, 6-1. “It’s pretty unreal for me at the moment to get to that stage at a Grand Slam. It’s been obviously always a dream for every player, to be in a semis in Wimbledon.”

Even though the top 10 seeds in the women’s draw were eliminated before the quarterfinals, it’s not as if this is a field of nobodies. Among the players still alive are Angelique Kerber, a former world No. 1 who won two major championships in 2016 and was a Wimbledon finalist who lost to Williams; and Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko, who is ranked 12th in the world and won last year’s French Open.

Williams is ranked No. 181 in the world but is seeded 25th in the tournament. She returned to the sport earlier this year after giving birth to her first child.

Unfinished business

It was not just women who played singles Tuesday, as there was one remaining men’s match. Juan Martin Del Potro narrowly beat Gilles Simon 7-6 (1), 7-6 (5), 5-7, 7-6 (5) to advance to Wednesday’s quarterfinal.

Del Potro will play Rafael Nadal, a two-time Wimbledon winner.

“My body feels OK,” Del Potro said. “Normally I feel a little bit tired. It’s a big chance for me to face Rafa tomorrow.”

New territory

The only American remaining in the men’s draw is John Isner, who has advanced to the quarterfinals of a major championship for the second time in his career. The first time was in 2011 at the U.S. Open.

Isner will play Canadian Milos Raonic, another of the game’s biggest servers.

In 2010, Isner and Nicolas Mahut made history with a match that lasted more than 11 hours and had a fifth set that ended, 70-68, in Isner’s favor.

“Certainly this tournament since that long match has sort of been a house of horrors for me,” Isner said. “I’ve lost a lot of close ones since that match in 2010, a lot of very, very close ones, a lot of deep five-set matches, third round especially.”

Local favorite

British star Andy Murray, a two-time Wimbledon winner, will play in the Citi Open in Washington, D.C., in three weeks. He pulled out of Wimbledon with hip issues the day before the tournament started.

International affair

Nationality-wise, tennis might be one of the most diverse sports around. For the second consecutive year, each of the men’s quarterfinalists is from a different country. This year’s field features players from the U.S., Switzerland, Spain, Canada, Serbia, Japan, Argentina and South Africa.

Follow Sam Farmer on Twitter @LATimesfarmer