Updated: June 29, 2010, 5:48 PM ET

Serena and the others

Garber By Greg Garber
ESPN.com
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WIMBLEDON, England -- As all the other top players have fallen around her -- including, shockingly, sister Venus -- Serena Williams just keeps moving the chains.

The No. 1 seed rolled into Thursday's semifinals with a muscular, if unspectacular, 7-5, 6-3 win over No. 9-ranked Li Na of China. She is joined in the final four by a curious collection of under-the-radar players: No. 21-ranked Vera Zvonareva of Russia, No. 82 Tzvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria and the Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova, ranked No. 62

Serena, the defending champion, has a total of 12 Grand Slam singles titles. The other three semifinalists have zero. In fact, none of them have even been in a major final.

"It's not mine to lose," Serena said in her postmatch news conference. "It's mine to win. They have just as good of a chance as I do."

Serena said this with a straight face, but it would be quite surprising if she doesn't come out of here with her fourth Wimbledon title.

Li, who hits the ball exceptionally flat, was playing in her second Wimbledon quarterfinal dating back to 2006. She opened the match well, knowing full well that the three previous sets in their head-to-head series had all gone to tiebreakers.

That's where it looked like this one was going, but at 5-all, she came apart like a piņata. Leading 40-love, she threw in back-to-back double faults. A blown forehand volley was the fifth straight dropped point, and that gave Serena the break she was looking for.

Serena served out the set and finished it with a clean backhand winner. Eighty minutes after it began, she was in the semifinals; Serena had only one unforced error in the second set.

She has now won 12 consecutive matches here at the All England Club and her serve is still superior to the rest of the field. She has authored 73 aces in five matches this year.

"I don't feel like I've been playing my best tennis at these championships," Serena said. "It would be a good one to get under my belt."

Three things I KNOW I think

1. The number 82 turns out to be quite lucky (unless you are an American in England): The two biggest upset victims this fortnight, Venus Williams and Andy Roddick, were each beaten by opponents ranked No. 82 in the world -- Tsvetana Pironkova and Yen-Hsun Lu.

2. Nobody wanted to win that Kaia Kanepi-Petra Kvitova quarterfinal: Kanepi failed to convert any of her five match point opportunities in the 2-hour, 39-minute match. Kvitova finally cashed in at 8-6 in the third. Maybe it's because the winner gets to play No. 1 Serena Williams.

3. I can't wait for Rafael Nadal-Robin Soderling: This is the fourth time they've met in a Grand Slam. Rafa beat Soderling at Roland Garros in 2006 and in a marathon match in Wimbledon 2007. The Swede got payback at last year's French Open, bouncing Nadal in the fourth round. A month ago, Nadal beat Soderling in straight sets in the final at Roland Garros. Soderling seems like a man spoiling for revenge.

Greg Garber is a senior writer for ESPN.com.

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