Venus, Serena advance to Wimbledon semifinals

LONDON -- Serena Williams handled Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in straight sets to set up a sister act in the women's Wimbledon semifinal.Venus Williams, 36, beat Yaroslava Shvedova, advancing to her first Wimbledon semifinal since 2009."This is an a...

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Germany’s Angelique Kerber in action against Romania’s Simona Halep Tuesday in the Wimbledon quarterfinals. (Photo by Stefan Wermuth / Reuters)

LONDON - Serena Williams handled Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in straight sets to set up a sister act in the women’s Wimbledon semifinal.
Venus Williams, 36, beat Yaroslava Shvedova, advancing to her first Wimbledon semifinal since 2009.
“This is an awesome day,” Venus Williams said Tuesday after taking 7-6, 6-2 sets from Shvedova. “I love playing the game, I always have. Of course when you’re winning matches it’s sweeter but the wins and the losses always lead to this moment.”
Serena Williams won 6-4, 6-4, not long after Venus had punched her ticket into Wednesday’s semifinal.
Venus Williams rallied from 5-2 down in the first set to secure the meeting with Angelique Kerber of Germany, who beat Simona Halep. Shvedova was playing in the Wimbledon quarterfinals for the first time but Venus Williams has five Wimbledon titles, the first coming in 2000. She is the oldest woman in the semifinals at Wimbledon since Martina Navratilova did it at age 37.
Kerber is 3-2 against Venus Williams head-to-head.
The sisters could meet in the finals if Serena Williams takes out Kerber on Wednesday.
Serena Williams admitted to peeking at the sidecourt scoreboard during breaks in the match. She will take on Elena Vesnina in the other semifinal match.
“I knew Venus was up, and then they showed the score and I was, like, ‘Yay!,’” Serena Williams said. “I’m just trying to win my match, as well as my semifinal. I’ve learned this year is to focus on the match and not get carried away.
“Obviously I want her to win so bad. I desperately want her to win if I’m not there.”
The evidence suggests that fourth seed Kerber, just as she did when stunning Serena Williams in the Australian Open final in January, has timed her tournament run perfectly.
Her game has improved with every round and, having struck a finely calibrated balance between accuracy and aggression in Tuesday’s pulsating quarterfinal win over Halep, is the only woman in the draw yet to drop a set.
“I’m playing really good tennis right now. ... I think I’m playing like in Australia,” she told reporters after her 7-5 7-6(2) win. “I know I can win such tournaments.”
Kerber is also in a happier place than at the French Open in May where, feeling the weight of expectation after her Melbourne triumph, she lost in the first round to unseeded Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens.
“When I arrived in Paris I was feeling much more pressure. ... Also, I was not handling it so well off court,” she said.
“When I arrived here, I was telling myself, just like in Australia, just be relaxed ... just be focusing on the tennis thing.”
That confidence is reflected in her willingness to broach the issue of how she might change her game to cope with the different threat of Venus, and the admission that her serve - the part of her game misfiring on Tuesday - needs to improve.
“I think Venus makes more mistakes (than Halep) but also more winners, so it will be a completely different match,” she said. “I will try to serve better ... but when it comes down to it I will have to go out and take a grip on the match.”
On the men’s side, the final quarterfinal spot went to 10th-seeded Tomas Berdych, who posted a 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (8) 6-7 (9), 6-3 victory over fellow Czech Jiri Vesely.
The match was tied at two sets apiece when suspended due to darkness on Monday before Berdych was stronger throughout the final set. Berdych will face France’s Lucas Pouille in Wednesday’s quarterfinals.
“I’m going to try to stick with my game, try to play with what I know the best, try to dictate,” Berdych told reporters. “That’s it. I mean, there are not many secrets behind it. Just being very focused from the first point till the last.”

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