Serena Williams was tested to the full while sister Venus received what equaled a played-out walkover against the choking world No. 1 Dinara Safina as the sisters lined up a second consecutive all-Williams Wimbledon final on Thursday at the All England Club.
Saving a match point, Serena Williams edged Russia’s Elena Dementieva 6-7, 7-5, 8-6 in the longest women’s semifinal in the Open Era at two hours, 49 minutes. Dementieva had bested the younger Williams in recent meetings, but could not put away key points, with luck falling to the Williams’ side on Hawkeye calls and net cords.
Dementieva broke to lead 3-1 in the third and had a match point leading 6-5 but could not convert.
“I feel very satisfied the way I was playing today,” Dementieva said. “The only regret I have, maybe I should take a little bit more risk on match point, should go down the line…I wasn’t sure if it’s Serena or Andy Roddick [serving] on the other side, 125 all the time. It was a huge percentage of the first serve. Even with that I was able to break her a couple of times and I was in the lead in the third set. Like I said, she’s a fighter.”
Venus steamrolled the No. 1-ranked Safina 6-1, 6-0, with the Russian exhibiting the throat-clutching tennis she usually saves for Grand Slam finals, where she is 0-3 career. It was the first appearance in a Wimbledon semifinal for Safina.
“Oh my god, this is I think my eighth final and a dream come true,” Venus told the BBC. “[Safina] is so talented and she’s played so consistently in the last year…I have so much experience on this court, so it helps a lot.”
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