London: Serena and Venus Williams can book places in the Wimbledon final on Thursday, seven years after they last slugged it out for a Grand Slam title. For the first time since 2009, both sisters have made it to the Wimbledon semi-finals.
To make the dream final become a reality, defending champion Serena must beat Russian world number 50 Elena Vesnina, while world number eight Venus plays Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber.
Between 2000 and 2010, Serena and Venus won a combined nine Wimbledon titles and made a total of 14 appearances in the final, with four of those being all-Williams affairs in 2002, 2003, 2008 and 2009. But, just when it seemed the Williams’ duopoly in south-west London would never end, in 2011 Venus was struck down by illness and Serena’s win over her sister at Wimbledon in 2009 remains their last title clash.
Now, at an age when most of her contemporaries had long since called it quits, 36-year-old Venus has willed herself back into contention for an eighth Grand Slam crown. It is a renaissance that makes Serena proud, but even the 34-year-old didn’t expect to still be in which a chance of contesting the sport’s top prizes with her sister at this advanced stage of their careers.
“I’m surprised of the longevity of it. That kind of definitely took me by surprise,” Serena said.
World number one Serena, bidding for a record-equalling 22nd major title and seventh Wimbledon crown, appears to have the easier draw against first-time Grand Slam semi-finalist Vesnina, having won all four of their previous encounters. But five-time champion Venus, who last won a major at Wimbledon in 2008, has a much tougher task against Kerber.
Kerber defeated Serena to win her maiden Grand Slam crown in Melbourne in January and holds a 3-2 edge in her meetings with Venus. Venus, the oldest women’s Wimbledon semi-finalist since Martina Navratilova in 1994, expects an equally inspired display as the German fourth seed targets a first Wimbledon final.
“Well, clearly it was one of her best days on the court,” Venus said of Kerber’s win over Serena. Kerber, 28, lost her only previous Wimbledon semi-final in 2012, but she enjoyed a victory over Venus at the same venue in the Olympics just weeks later.