Venus Williams, Kerber reach Wimbledon semifinals

ABS-CBN Sports on Jul 05, 2016 10:50 PM
Venus Williams, Kerber reach Wimbledon semifinals
Venus Williams of the U.S celebrates after beating Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazahkstan in their women's singles match on day nine of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Tuesday, July 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)

STEPHEN WILSON, AP Sports Writer


LONDON (AP) — Venus Williams is back in the semifinals of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in six years.

Making another title run at the age of 36, the five-time Wimbledon champion beat Yarsoslava Shvedova 7-6 (5), 6-2 on Tuesday, advancing to the final four at the All England Club for the first time since 2009 and first time at any major since the 2010 U.S. Open.

"I love playing the game, I always have," the eighth-seeded Williams said. "When you're winning matches it makes it that much sweeter. I can't lie about that."

From 5-2 down in the tiebreaker, Williams ran off five straight points to take the first set, then rolled through the second set on No. 1 Court. She's one win away from returning to the Wimbledon final for the first time since 2009, where she lost to sister Serena, a six-time champion.

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

Venus will next face No. 4 Angelique Kerber, the Australian Open champion who held off No. 5 Simona Halep 7-5, 7-6 (2) in the first match on Centre Court, a defensive battle that featured 13 breaks of serve, including eight in a row in the first set.

Top-ranked Serena Williams was playing No. 21-seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova on Centre Court in another quarterfinal. The winner will play either No. 19 Dominika Cibulkova or Elena Vesnina, who faced off on No. 1 Court.

In the completion of a fourth-round men's match suspended by darkness on Monday at one set apiece, No. 10 Tomas Berdych overcame Czech countryman Jiri Vesely 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (8), 6-7 (9), 6-3.

Berdych, the 2010 Wimbledon runner-up, will play Lucas Pouille of France in Wedneday's men's quarterfinals.

Venus Williams, the oldest player in the women's field, has made a remarkable resurgence in her 19th appearance at Wimbledon. She was already the oldest player to advance to a Grand Slam quarterfinal since Martina Navratilova made it this far at Wimbledon in 1994 at the age of 37.

Venus won her first title at the All England Club in 2000, and then added titles in 2001, '05, '07 and '08, but has been slowed in recent years by Sjogren's syndrome, a condition that can cause joint pain and saps energy.

On Tuesday Shvedova — a 96th-ranked player from Kazakhstan contesting her third Grand Slam quarterfinal — saved a set point against Williams with a forehand winner while serving at 5-4 in the first set. Shvedova then went up 5-2 in the tiebreaker, but stalled as Williams rallied to take command.

"Oh wow," Venus said. "I mean, what a tough day on the court. The first set, I felt like I had so many opportunities, but then she would play so well. And even the tiebreaker, it seemed like she was going to win it, and somehow walked out of that with the set. What a day it was against an opponent who was just on fire."

Kerber has a 3-2 career edge against Williams, but they haven't faced each other since 2014. The German won in straight sets on grass at Wimbledon at the 2012 London Olympics

"We've had a lot of great matches, she and I. We haven't played in a while," Williams said. "Clearly, she's had a great year, another great result in the Slam. I would love to be walking toward the final, and progress made today."

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