Sister Act 4: Serena, Venus to meet in fourth Wimbledon final

Wimbledon, England (Sports Network) – Second-seeded Serena Williams and third- seeded Venus Williams will square off in Saturday’s ladies’ final at Wimbledon, where Venus topped Serena in last year’s third all-Williams finale at the All England Club.

In one of the best women’s matches played here in some time, the two-time champion Serena snuck past Olympic gold medalist Elena Dementieva 6-7 (4-7), 7-5, 8-6 on Thursday, while the other semifinal was one of the most lopsided played here in a while, as the five-time titlist Venus destroyed world No. 1 Russian Dinara Safina 6-1, 6-0 in a laughable 51 minutes.

Venus topped Serena 7-5, 6-4 in last year’s final, as Venus nailed down a second straight and fifth overall Wimbledon title. Saturday will mark the fourth all-Williams Wimbledon final, with Serena holding a 2-1 edge thus far.

This marked the first time since 2006 that all four top-seeded women reached the semifinals at a Grand Slam event. Serena and Venus are former world No. 1s, which means three of the four semifinalists have held the coveted top ranking.

In Thursday’s first semi, Serena outlasted the fourth-seeded Dementieva in a three-set thriller. The reigning Australian Open and U.S. Open titlist Serena also topped Dementieva in a semifinal at the Aussie Open back in January.

Serena and Dementieva traded breaks in the first two games of the match on Day 10 and Serena appeared on the verge of another break in the eighth game with a 40-15 lead. Dementieva, however, dug out of the hole to hold serve and the set eventually went to a tiebreak on yet another hot, sunny day here.

A pair of Serena errors gave Dementieva the advantage in the tiebreak. The American ripped a forehand wide and netted another forehand on consecutive points to give the Russian a 6-3 edge. Dementieva quickly gave one back with a double fault and misfired on her next serve, but Serena blasted a forehand wide on the second serve to give Dementieva the opening set.

In an equally-as-tight second set, Dementieva eventually had opportunities to break Serena to knot the stanza at 6-all, especially on one particular point when the athletic Russian swatted a two-handed backhand out despite having a wide-open court. Serena would wind up with a hold to force a deciding third set.

In the dramatic final set, Dementieva appeared to assume some control when Serena double-faulted and then netted a forehand to give the Russian a break and a 3-1 lead. But Dementieva was unable to consolidate the break, as her American counterpart broke right back and then held her serve to level the third at 3-3.

The two stars then stayed on serve over the next several games, trading monster forehands and backhands from the baselines. Following a Dementieva hold, the Russian got herself to a match point in the 10th game of the stanza, but a gutsy Serena staved it off by following up a net approach with a clutch backhand volley winner.

Serena wound up with a hold to make it 5-all, and three games later, the powerful American recorded a huge service break with a backhand winner for a 7-6 edge.

In the next game, Serena set-up her first match point with a forehand winner and converted on it when Dementieva misfired wide with one final backhand after 2 hours, 49 minutes of spectacular tennis on the famed Centre Court.

Serena launched 20 aces among her 45 winners, while Dementieva recorded 27 winners and had her serve broken five times. The two-time major runner-up from Russia settled for three breaks in the gut-wrenching setback.

The 27-year-old Dementieva reached the French and U.S. Open finals in 2004 and won the gold medal in Beijing last year. She has lost in the Wimbledon semis the last two years, with last year’s setback coming against the Wimbledon queen Venus.

The 10-time major champion Serena will now appear in her 14th career Grand Slam final (10-3). She captured Wimbledon titles in 2002 and 2003 by beating her big sister in finals and was the runner-up here in 2004 and last year.

The 27-year-old Serena owns 33 career singles titles, including this year’s Aussie Open crown.

Meanwhile, Venus crushed a helpless Safina by breaking the Russian’s weak serve five times in six tries. The American great also tallied 16 winners, including fives aces, compared to only six winners for a stunned Safina. And while Safina was piling up 16 unforced errors, Venus committed only one in 13 games.

The 23-year-old Safina came here having reached three of the last five major finals. She was upset by fellow Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova in last month’s French Open finale and dismantled by Serena in January’s Aussie Open title tilt.

Venus, who hasn’t lost on Centre Court since 2004, has won 35 straight sets at the world’s most prestigious tennis event. The tall American is now 68-9 all- time on grass overall, including 64-7 at Wimbledon.

The 29-year-old seven-time major champion Venus, like Serena, will also appear in her 14th Grand Slam final (7-6), including her eighth at the All England Club (5-2). She owns 41 career titles, including ones in Acapulco and Dubai this season.

The mighty Williams sisters have combined for seven of the last nine Wimbledon titles, and at least one of the sisters has appeared in eight of the last nine championship matches here.

Serena and Venus will meet for a 21st time, as the superstar siblings have split their first 20 matchups. Serena is 4-3 when they’ve met in Grand Slam finals. They’ve split two matches this year, with Venus winning a semifinal in Dubai and Serena taking a semifinal in Miami.

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One Response

  1. Serena is better overall but Venus stronger on grass.

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