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Williams, Sharapova battle through to keep Wimbledon semi-final date

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serena_williamsWomen's Quarter-final Day at Wimbledon provided more than it promised with the favourites advancing to their pre-anointed place in the final four, but not before being given a royal work out on Tuesday.

Serena Williams kept up her pursuit of re-enacting Steffi Graf's calendar Grand Slam of 1988 by battling past former world no.1 Victoria Azarenka in a thrilling contest on Centre Court. The world no.1, who has been made to work for her wins in recent matches by young Brit Heather Watson and elder sister Venus, was pushed to three sets by Azarenka, before prevailing 3-6, 6-2, 6-3.

46 winners flowed from Serena's racquet as she continued to be in sublime form. She will next face long term rival Maria Sharapova for the 20th time in their respective careers, but it has been a rather one-sided affair between the two women for many a year now with Serena having won their last 16 encounters.

Sharapova was surprisingly taken to three sets by 23 year old American Coco Vandeweghe, who hits a hard ball and got enough in play towards the end of the second set to give Sharapova enough of a scare. The Russian diva, seeded fourth, finally prevailed in three sets, 6-3, 6-7 (3), 6-2.

Also returning to the end stages of a Wimbledon affair is 2012 runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland. The 13th seed was also taken to three sets by yet another American, 20 year old Madison Keys. Radwanska, the perpetual counter-puncher absorbed everything that young Keys threw at her, before nicking away with a 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-3 win.

Standing in Radwanska's way and a second appearance on the second Saturday of Wimbledon is 20th seed Garbine Muguruza of Spain. The 21 year old was the only person to prevail in straight sets today, getting the better of 25 year old Swiss Timea Bacsinszky, 7-5, 6-3.

File Photograph Copyright: Elizabeth