Venus advances into the Australian Open semi-finals

Venus Williams reached the semi finals of the Australian Open, with a 6-4, 7-5 straight sets win over Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova at Melbourne Park on Monday

By Carlo Chikomba

The American will now face fellow compatriot Coco Vandeweghe for a place in the final, after the unseeded surprise packet pulled a shocking victory over seventh seed Garbine Muguruza.

For Williams’, this year’s Australian Open campaign is her best since 2003, which was the last time she reached the last four in the year’s opening grand slam event.

In that particular year she eventually finished as runner-up to her sister Serena Williams and we may very well see a repeat of the same scenario if they both win their next encounters.

“Whoever wins, I’m just so excited that I have an opportunity to play again on Thursday,” Williams said following her 50th singles victory at Melbourne Park.

“I’m so excited. It was such a hard-fought match. She (Pavlyuchenkova) never let up.

“It’s wonderful to be here. I want to go further. I’m not happy just with this, but I’m so happy to have an opportunity to go further.

“It wasn’t the easiest start to the year. I had to withdraw from the first tournament and there’s so much anxiety that goes with that,” she added.

Pavlyuchenkova put up a solid showing, breaking Williams’ serve in the third game of the match, before immediately being broken back.

However, the Russian remained resolute, breaking again to lead 4-3, but Williams came back stronger, racking up the next three games to take the set 6-4.

The second set was almost a complete replica of the first as the American 13th seed overcame a break in the third game, and came back from 3-4 down to lead 5-4.

The set went to a tie-break, with neither party looking like surrendering as they both had mini breaks. However, the turning point of the match came at 3-3, with Williams puncturing a forehand winner down the line to gain the advantage.

She would then go on to serve out to earn three match points, with Pavlyuchenkova  serving a double fault to end the match in one hour 47 minutes.

With that victory, Williams becomes the oldest woman to make a grand slam semi-final since legendary compatriot Martina Navratilova at Wimbledon in 1994.

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