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Serena Williams knocks off defending Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova

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Serena Williams continued her quest for a fifth Wimbledon title on Tuesday, defeating defending champion Petra Kvitova 6-3, 7-5 to advance to the semifinals at the All England Club.

Behind a strong first serve that included 13 aces and 86 percent of points won, Williams got out to a quick start in the titanic quarterfinal matchup. She broke early in the first set and then late in the second to hand Kvitova just her second loss in her last 17 Wimbledon matches. Her last loss at the tournament: In 2010 when Serena defeated her in the semis.

"I'm going to have to [step it up again] if I'm going to win the title," Williams told the BBC after the match. "There's a lot of people vying for it still."

It's the right sentiment even if it's hard to imagine Serena believing it. She vanquished the toughest remaining grass-court player in the draw on Tuesday. Of the four players she could face in the finals, there are a combined two Grand Slam semifinal appearances. A tougher test could come in Thursday's semifinals, when she may face No. 2 Victoria Azarenka, the reigning Australian Open champion who is quietly working her way through the Wimbledon draw.

This will be Williams' eighth appearance in the Final Four at Wimbledon, her most at any Grand Slam.

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