Sister act: Serena and Venus move closer to showdown at Wimbledon
Williams siblings reach the semi-finals, setting up the tantalising prospect of the pair squaring off in a sentimental final
Six-time champion Serena Williams reached her 10th Wimbledon semi-final on Tuesday with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Russia 21st seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
The 34-year-old world number one’s win sets up the enticing prospect of a final showdown with sister Venus, a five-time champion who is also through to the last four.
Serena, who is bidding for a record-equalling Open era 22nd grand slam title, goes on to face Russian world number 50 Elena Vesnina, who defeated Slovak 19th seed Dominika Cibulkova, for a place in Saturday’s title match.
Venus, 36, made the semi-finals for the first time since 2009 earlier Tuesday by beating Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 and now meets Angelique Kerber who accounted for Simona Halep 7-5, 7-6 (7-2).
“They showed Venus’ score on court and I was like, ‘Yaaaay’. I want her to win so bad, but not in the final if I’m there,” said defending champion Serena who took her grand slam match win record to 302 – four behind Martina Navratilova’s all-time mark.
It is the 11th time that the sisters have advanced to the semi-final of the same grand slam event.
Serena took a 5-0 career lead over Russian 21st seed Pavlyuchenkova into Tuesday’s match, having not dropped a set to her opponent since their first meeting in 2010.
But the match was decided in the ninth game of both sets with Williams carving out the only breaks of the match against Pavlyuchenkova, playing in her first Wimbledon quarter-final.
The American finished the match with an 11th ace.
“It was good. I am excited to be able to win and get through, it felt really good,” she said before heading off to play doubles with her sister.
Venus, 36, is the oldest women’s semi-finalist since Martina Navratilova in 1994. She won the last of her seven grand slam titles at Wimbledon in 2008 and she is back in the last-four of a grand slam for the first time since the 2010 US Open.
“I love playing the game. When you are winning matches it makes it that much sweeter, said Venus.
“You can’t always have these big moments. I guess if you are Serena Williams it happens a lot, but for Venus Williams this is an awesome day.”
Kerber said: “I have had a great year so far. I think I am playing my best tennis. Hopefully I can play a few more matches here.”
Meanwhile, Vesnina’s victory over Cibulkova freed her Slovakian opponent to focus on her impending wedding.
Cibulkova is due to marry fiancé Miso Navara in her hometown of Bratislava on Saturday – the same day as the women’s final – and the 27-year-old was willing to postpone the ceremony if she won the quarter-final.
But world number 50 Vesnina took advantage of a distracted display from Cibulkova to become the fifth unseeded woman to reach the All England Club semi-finals since the grand slams switched to 32 seeds in 2001.
On her coming matchup with Serena, Vesnina said: “Serena is one of the greatest. I always watch her matches.
“I have to go on to the court with all my heart and take my chances.”
Meanwhile, in the men, Czech Tomas Berdych reached the quarter-finals after completing a marathon match against fellow Czech Jiri Vesely, winning 4-6, 6-3, 7-6, 6-7, 6-3.