Tuesday, January 24, 2017 9:32 am
Venus Williams reached the Australian Open semi-finals for the first time in 14 years with a straight-set win over Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova on Sunday in Melbourne.
Williams, the 13th seed, saw off 24th seed Pavlyuchenkova 6-4 7-6 (7-3) in the first fixture of the quarter-finals.
The 36-year-old American has never won the title, her best effort a runner-up finish to sister Serena in 2003.
She goes on to face unseeded American Coco Vandeweghe, who thrashed Spain’s seventh seed Garbine Muguruza 6-4 6-0.
The 25-year-old Vandeweghe followed up her win over world number one and defending champion Angelique Kerber with a crushing defeat of French Open champion Muguruza.
“I really wasn’t feeling all that great out there, I was feeling kind of nervous,” said Vandeweghe.
“I just tried to play my best, stay within myself, keep my patterns. I fought through a few break points on her serve, kept on the pressure in the first set and then she finally cracked.
“Once I got rolling in the second it was like a freight train. You couldn’t stop it.’’
Williams, meanwhile, dropped serve four times against Pavlyuchenkova but was much the stronger in the decisive moments.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Venus has thus become the oldest woman to reach a Grand Slam semi-final since Martina Navratilova at Wimbledon in 1994.
“I’m so excited. Today was such a hard-fought match. She never let up,” said the seven-time Grand Slam champion.
“It’s wonderful to be here at the start of the year. I want to go further. I’m not happy with this.
“I try to believe. Should I look across the net and believe the person across the net deserves it more?
“This mentality is not how champions are made. I’d like to be a champion, in particular this year. The mentality I walk on court with is: I deserve this.’’
On Wednesday, Serena Williams will play Britain’s Johanna Konta at about 02:00 GMT, following the match between Czech fifth seed Karolina Plisokva and Croatia’s Mirjana Lucic-Baroni.(NAN)