Tuesday 6 December 2016

Serena and Venus closing in on another all-Williams final at Wimbledon

Tom Allnutt

Published 05/07/2016 | 17:43

Serena Williams following her match against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova on day eight of the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon. Steve Paston/PA Wire
Serena Williams following her match against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova on day eight of the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon. Steve Paston/PA Wire

Serena and Venus Williams are closing in on another family final at Wimbledon after the sisters cruised through to the last four on Tuesday.

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The most famous siblings in tennis last met in a major final here in 2009 and stand one win each away from a reunion after Venus beat Kazakhstan's Yaroslava Shvedova and Serena overcame Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Venus' run is the more surprising. Her most recent grand slam semi-final came at the US Open six years ago, but the American continued her recent resurgence with a 7-6 (7/5) 6-2 victory on Court One.

The 36-year-old is the oldest woman competing in singles at this year's championships and she will next face Germany's Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber, with the target an appearance in a 15th major final.

"I love playing the game. I always have of course and when you're winning matches it makes it that much sweeter," Venus Williams told the BBC after the match.

"The wins and the losses, they all lead to these big moments. You can't always have these big moments. If you're Serena Williams, I guess that happens a lot, but as Venus Williams this is an awesome day."

The sisters have contested eight grand slam finals in all but, unlike Serena, Venus' success has dwindled in recent years, in part due to her battle with Sjogren's syndrome, a condition that can cause tiredness and pain in the joints.

It makes her revival all the more impressive and this victory over Shvedova should not be underestimated after the Kazakh had already knocked out Lucie Safarova, Sabine Lisicki and Elina Svitolina.

Venus looked in trouble at 5-2 down in the opening tie-break but won five points in a row to take the set and she enjoyed complete control thereafter.

"What a day it was against an opponent who was just on fire," she said.

"When you walk to the net as the winner that's the goal, that's the dream, and for her in her first quarter-final to play so well, so much credit to her."

Venus Williams has played Kerber five times before, winning twice, including their most recent meeting at the Canadian Masters in 2014.

Kerber, however, stunned Serena earlier this year to claim her first major title in Melbourne and she is in good form again, after beating Romania's Simona Halep 7-5 7-6 (7/2).

"We've had a lot of great matches, she and I," Venus Williams said of Kerber. "We haven't played in a while and clearly she's had a great year with a great result in a slam but I'd love to be walking towards the final and it's progress made today."

Serena, meanwhile, will face Russian Elena Vesnina, the world number 50, who had only once before gone past the Wimbledon third round but dismissed Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova 6-2 6-2.

The 21-time major champion looked ominously untroubled during her 6-4 6-4 win over Pavlyuchenkova but insists she is not yet thinking about a showdown with her older sister.

"No I'm just trying to win my match, I had a tough opponent today and have a tough semi-final," Serena said.

"It would be great. She's such a tough opponent. I want her to win, obviously not if I'm there, but I desperately want her to win."

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