Venus Williams of the United States celebrates after defeating Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia.
Venus Williams of the United States celebrates after defeating Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia.

Planets align as Venus creates Open history

TENNIS: Venus Williams was reluctant to talk age last week.

But it will be hard to avoid the topic leading up to her semi-final at Melbourne Park.

After all, the 36-year-old has become the oldest woman to reach the final four of the Australian Open in the Open era.

She edged out Russian 24th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4 7-6 (7-3) in a tight quarter-final encounter that lasted one hour and 48 minutes.

Having reached the semi-finals in Australia for the first time since 2003, Venus is on target to face sister Serena, who beat her in the decider 14 years ago.

"I'm so excited, she never let up. We have always had these quality matches,” Venus said after securing her milestone 50th win at Melbourne Park.

"But I'm not happy just with this. I know I can go further.”

Last year Venus became the oldest Wimbledon semi-finalist for 22 years, since Martina Navratilova finished runner-up in 1994. Prior to that she hadn't contested a semi since 2010.

Few would have expected she would now create history Down Under, and she is edging closer to her first grand slam win since 2008.

"It's not been the easiest start to the year, there was so much anxiety going into this one. To be here is like 'oh my god'.

"And it's not easy playing this time of day - the sun is explosive, you can't see the ball at times of play.

"We both dealt with it. That's what tennis is for, getting through these moments.

"All the courts play different, I've never been sensitive to it.”

The 13th seed will now play red-hot countrywoman Coco Vandeweghe for a place in the final.

Beaten Pavlyuchenkova was left in awe of the older Williams sister.

"It was kind of surprising for me how in great form she is now,” she said.


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