Few tennis fans thought they would ever see another all-Williams Grand Slam final from the mid-30s-aged sisters, but it’s going to happen in Melbourne in 2017 as both No. 2 seed Serena and No. 13 Venus Williams fought through to the final with wins on Thursday at the Australian Open.
Serena Williams ended the Cindarella run of Croatian comeback player Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 6-2, 6-1.
“It felt really good because I felt like it was in my hands to force this Williams final,” Serena said. “Believe it or not, I was feeling a little pressure about that, but it felt really good to get that win.”
Eight years ago at Wimbledon was the last time the Williams sisters faced off in a final. It is Serena’s eighth final with six titles, and Venus will be looking for her first trophy-raising effort in Oz where she has been stifled during her career.
“If anything, this will definitely bring us closer together, knowing that I want to see her do the best that she can possibly do,” said Serena of Venus. “I know that she definitely wants to see me do the best that I can do. This is a story. This is something that I couldn’t write a better ending. This is a great opportunity for us to start our new beginning.”
The previous meeting between Serena and Lucic-Baroni was Wimbledon in 1998.
Venus fought back from a set down in her semifinal, defeating fellow American and first-time Slam semifinalist CoCo Vandeweghe 6-7(3), 6-2, 6-3.
“I’m versatile. I can adjust,” Williams said of her comeback from a set down. “I can do what I need to do to win a match.”
Vandeweghe powered through the first-set tiebreak win, but in the second set Venus quickly broke and ran away to even the match at one-set all. In the third set Venus broke early again, and the Slam rookie Vandeweghe was unable to garner any comeback momentum, winning only one of 13 break point opportunities in the contest.
Vandeweghe during the tournament beat the defending champ and current world No. 1 Angie Kerber, and the reigning French Open champ Garbine Muguruza.
“I did a really good job of that in the first set,” Vandeweghe said. “In the second set, she definitely changed how she was playing. I wasn’t as quick to counteract that. But she also came up with some clutch plays when I had breakpoints to get breakpoints back, in both sets, the second and third. It’s a combination of myself not playing as well to get back into the match. But you have to give credit where credit’s due. My opponent played better than I did today when it mattered in the points on her service games.”
Serena leads Venus 16-11 in their career head-to-head, winning their last two encounters at Wimbledon and the US Open in 2015. They are 1-1 against each other in matches at the Australian Open.
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