85° Good Afternoon
85° Good Afternoon

Venus, Serena reach Wimbledon semifinals

WIMBLEDON, England - Venus and Serena Williams are oneround away from meeting in another Wimbledon final.

Five-time champion Venus overpowered Agnieszka Radwanska 6-1,6-2 on Tuesday, and two-time winner Serena followed her into thesemifinals with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Victoria Azarenka.

No. 3-seeded Venus will next face top-ranked Dinara Safina, whoovercame 15 double-faults and beat German teenager Sabine Lisicki6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-1 to reach the Wimbledon semis for the first time.

In the bottom half of the draw, No. 4 Elena Dementieva defeatedItaly's Francesca Schiavone 6-2, 6-2 to set up a semifinalencounter with No. 2 Serena Williams.

It's the first time since 2006 that all four top-seeded womenreached the semifinals at a Grand Slam tournament.

The Williams sisters overwhelmed their opponents Tuesday withbreathtaking displays of power tennis, showing why they havedominated on the grass of the All England Club for most of the pastdecade.

"We definitely upped our levels of game today," Serena said.

Venus, seeking her third straight Wimbledon title, outhit the14th-ranked Pole from all parts of the court and proved again thatshe is the dominant female player on grass.

"Do I feel invincible?" Williams said. "I'd like to say yes,but I really do work at it."

Williams had her left leg taped up again but showed no weaknessat all as she ripped 29 winners -- compared to six for Radwanska --in a match that lasted just 68 minutes on a sunbaked Court 1.

"I can't complain," Williams said. "I'm in the semifinals ofWimbledon, right where I want to be. I just need to take anotherstep forward."

With Venus looking on from the guest box, Serena swept throughthe first set against the eighth-ranked Azarenka in 26 minutes.After being broken to go down 3-2 in the second, she won fourstraight games and held serve at love to finish the match incommanding fashion. Serena had nine aces and 26 winners, with onlyseven unforced errors.

Azarenka had beaten Serena in straight sets in their last matchin the final at Key Biscayne, Fla., in April.

"I really wanted to do well today," Serena said. "I didn't dowell the last time we played. I was not feeling great. I felt likeI really wanted to show up today."

Asked whether she also felt unbeatable at Wimbledon, Serenasaid: "I don't feel invincible, but I definitely should have thesame attitude. I'm going to try to feel that way, too."

Only once in the last nine years has there been a Wimbledonwomen's final that didn't feature at least one of the Williamssisters. The sisters were the only two Grand Slam winners in thewomen's quarterfinals -- Serena has 10 major titles and Venus seven.

The sisters have met in three Wimbledon finals, including lastyear. Serena has won two of the three, in 2002 and '03. They are10-10 in career meetings.

"I would love it to be a Williams final, and so would she,"Venus said. "That would be great."

The sisters' father, Richard Williams, said he is certain hisdaughters will be in the final again.

"I think they are both playing super well," he said. "They'replaying the Williams way. And when you're playing the Williams way,it's very difficult for anyone to touch you."

Venus is trying to become the first woman since Steffi Graf in1991-93 to win three Wimbledon titles in a row.

Venus Williams raced to a 5-0 lead against Radwanska, andfinished off the first set with back-to-back aces. Williams droppedonly two of 18 points on serve in the set.

"That first set for me was almost perfect," Williams said.

Safina, who has risen to No. 1 in the world despite never havingwon a Grand Slam title, struggled against the 19-year-old Lisicki.The Russian had to come from behind after double-faulting to losethe first set tiebreaker, smashing her racket to the turf anddrawing a warning from the chair umpire.

"I was Santa Claus on the court, serving so manydouble-faults," Safina said.

Safina was down 3-2 on serve in the second set, but got the onebreak in the seventh game to force a third set. The 41st-rankedLisicki received treatment on her right calf after going down 4-1in the third. In the next game, Safina was up 40-0 before servingthree straight double-faults. She still managed to hold and thenbroke for the match.

"I was tough mentally, that was the key today," Safina said.

The men's quarterfinals are set for Wednesday with five-timechampion Roger Federer against 6-foot-10 Croat Ivo Karlovic; No. 3Andy Murray vs. Spanish wild card Juan Carlos Ferrero; 2002champion Lleyton Hewitt vs. two-time finalist Andy Roddick; and No.3 Novak Djokovic vs. Tommy Haas.

Temperatures topped 90 degrees on Tuesday, with no need to closethe roof on Centre Court.

Medical officials on site said they treated more than 130people, mostly for heat-related problems. One person was taken to ahospital.


We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

New York Sports