LONDON: Serena Williams set up a titanic Wimbledon fourth round showdown with sister Venus as the world number one staged a dramatic final set fightback to beat Britain´s Heather Watson 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 on Friday.
Williams, bidding for a sixth Wimbledon title and a calendar Grand Slam, was on the brink of a humiliating third round exit when Watson served for the match at 5-4 in the final set.
But Serena, who had trailed 3-0 in the decider, showed why she has won 20 Grand Slam titles as she broke back before finally sealing an epic escape in two hours and 14 minutes in front of an enthralled 15,000-strong crowd on Centre Court.
Serena´s 53 winners and 13 aces were just enough overcome her 33 unforced errors in the match of the tournament to date.
The 33-year-old American will face 16th seed Venus on Monday for the first time in a Grand Slam since beating her in the 2009 Wimbledon final.
The sisters´ last meeting came in 2014 when Venus won in Montreal, but Serena holds a 14-11 advantage over the 35-year-old in their career head to head.
They have clashed five times previously at Wimbledon, with Serena winning three times and Venus twice.
“Venus is in better form than I am, so I think she has a little bit of an advantage going into that match. But at least one of us will be in the quarter-finals, so that will be good,” Serena added.
Faced with the prospect of a third successive early departure from Wimbledon, Serena had to dig deep to keep alive her hopes of becoming the first woman since Steffi Graf in 1988 to win all four Grand Slams in the calendar year.
The gritty recovery extended her winning streak in the majors at 24 matches — a blistering run that started after her third round loss to Alize Cornet at Wimbledon 12 months ago and has brought her the 2014 US Open crown and titles at the Australian and French Opens this year.