Angelique Kerber knows what it feels like to win Wimbledon, having hoisted the trophy in 2018, and she would dearly love to experience that feeling again.
Of course, it's a good feeling already to have the [Wimbledon] trophy at home and to win it here. I think it's more about this tournament for me, because when I was a kid I really looked forward to playing this tournament good, and playing my best tennis here. Now I'm back. I'm coming [back] after a really tough time. I was not playing good the last few months. Now winning last week a tournament at home, now playing well here again, that means a lot to me. Angelique Kerber
She put herself one step closer on Tuesday on Court No 1 when she defeated Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic, 6-2 6-3, to reach the semi-finals in SW19 for the 4th time in her career.
She eased past the Czech to earn herself a contest with Ash Barty, who took the all-Aussie derby over Ajla Tomljanovic on Centre Court a little later in the day.
Kerber, seeded No 25, needed just an hour and 15 minutes to quash the challenge from the 19th seed, notching her 10th straight match-win in the process.
The German came into Wimbledon having taken the title at the inaugural Bad Homburg Open in her homeland and felt well-boosted in the confidence tanks.
“I just try to continue my play on grass,” Kerber said, in her post-match press conference. “Having, of course, the confidence from the last week, coming here with a title in my bag, gives me also confidence that grass is really my surface.”
Another trip to the final 4 continues a run of exceptional success at Wimbledon for Kerber, who defeated Serena Williams in the 2018 final, and finished runner-up to the American in 2016.
She also reached the Wimbledon semi-finals in 2012 so is no stranger to the challenges ahead of her.
The winner of 3 Grand Slams has found her form after her love for the game had clearly waned, and she has built a 10-match winning streak so is riding high into the semis at Wimbledon.
“I really enjoy every moment here,” beamed Kerber at the full capacity No 1 Court crowd. “It was a tight match.
“She plays really well, especially on grass. I’m so, so happy to be in the semis here again. It means a lot to me to be playing here in front of you guys.
“The grass is why I’m playing so much better. I was so excited to come back on this surface after last year’s [Covid] break from it.
“I really worked hard in the last few months and weeks. I’m so happy to play my tennis again with my heart on the court, fighting to the last ball, enjoying my time on and off court. It’s a magic place.”
The 33-year-old has become a key contender to lift the Venus Rosewater Dish on Saturday and as the rain poured down outside, under the roof of No 1 Court, she took control from the get-go while it gradually became clear that the taping on Muchova’s left thigh was proving a real hindrance to her.
The Kerber left-handed backhand proved a major weapon and it brought the No 25 seed early reward as she took a 3-0 lead, despite being pushed repeatedly to deuce on her own serve.
While opening the second looked as if the tide might be turning, Kerber came back from 0-40 in her opening service game, and when it happened again at 1-1, she couldn’t bridge the gap.
As the errors crept in for Muchova, Kerber’s win of 4 straight games ultimately proved fatal for the Czech and the German rode out the match.
“Of course, it’s a good feeling already to have the [Wimbledon] trophy at home and to win it here,” Kerber said. “I think it’s more about this tournament for me, because when I was a kid I really looked forward to playing this tournament good, and playing my best tennis here.
“Now I’m back. I’m coming [back] after a really tough time. I was not playing good the last few months.
“Now winning last week a tournament at home, now playing well here again, that means a lot to me.”
The former World No 1 improved her record against Muchova to 3-0, while she is also an undefeated 7-0 against Czech players at Grand Slams.
Kerber fired 15 winners, outpacing the 9 from Muchova, and converted 4 of her 6 break points as she eased into her first major semi-final since her title-winning run at Wimbledon 3 years ago.
Muchova, a semi-finalist at this year’s Australian Open, is only the 3rd woman in Wimbledon history to reach the quarter-finals on her first two appearances at the event, 2019 and this year, but on this day, the Czech was undone by 27 unforced errors, 6 more than Kerber’s total.
This contest revealed no sign that Kerber was feeling the pace of so much continual play, even though her matches so far this fortnight included the longest women’s contest for 10 years, including her second round win over Sara Sorribes Tormo, which lasted 3 hours 19 minutes.
As for meeting the World No 1 Ash Barty on Thursday, Kerber said: “Against Ash, I know that I have to play my best tennis.
“She has a lot of confidence right now. She played well. I know that I have to play my own game. I have to just think how to play, be aggressive, and try to take the match more in my hands and go for it.
“Even if I miss a few shots, I have to stay there and try to push her.”