Thu, Jul 02, 2009 - Page 18 News List

Venus, Serena to face Russian pair

AP AND REUTERS , WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND

Serena Williams serves to Victoria Azarenka during their quarter-final match on Tuesday at Wimbledon in London.

PHOTO: EPA

Her 19th consecutive victory at the All England Club already wrapped up, Venus Williams grabbed a seat and watched younger sister Serena win easily to reach the semi-finals, too.

Afterward, Venus and Mom, Oracene Price, strolled out of Centre Court arm-in-arm, chatting and laughing.

Sure is fun to be a Williams at Wimbledon.

Five-time champion Venus beat Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland 6-1, 6-2, before two-time champion Serena defeated No. 8 seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus 6-2, 6-3, a pair of overwhelming performances on Tuesday that moved the siblings closer to another all-in-the-family final at Wimbledon.

“They are both playing super-well. They’re playing ‘The Williams Way,’” their father, Richard Williams, said.

If No. 3 Venus gets by No. 1 Dinara Safina of Russia in today’s semi-finals, and No. 2 Serena eliminates No. 4 Elena Dementieva of Russia, the siblings would meet on Saturday in their second consecutive final at the All England Club and fourth overall.

It also would be the eighth all-Williams Grand Slam championship match; Serena leads 5-2.

“I would love it to be a Williams final,” Venus said, “and so would she.”

She is trying to become the first woman since Steffi Graf in 1991-1993 to win three consecutive Wimbledon titles; Serena wants to add to the trophies she earned in 2002 and 2003 by beating her sister in the final.

At least one person has no doubt there will be a rematch on Saturday.

“It will be. I’ll go home because I can’t watch,” their father said. “I think they both definitely make it to the final.”

First things first. If the 19-year-old Azarenka and 20-year-old Radwanska represented up-and-coming opponents with little experience on the sport’s grandest stages — neither has reached a Grand Slam semi-final — Safina and Dementieva are far more accustomed to playing significant matches.

On the other hand, they’re not nearly as accustomed to winning them as the Williams sisters are, of course: Serena has 10 major titles, Venus seven; Safina and Dementieva have none.

Radwanska and Azarenka failed to make things difficult on Tuesday for the Williams sisters, who were at their dominant best.

At least Dementieva, the Russian fourth seed, is doing her best to keep up with the Americans.

She performed a Williams-type demolition job on diminutive Italian Francesca Schiavone, winning 6-2, 6-2.

World No. 1 Safina and unseeded German Sabine Lisicki did provide a contest worthy of the name with the Muscovite wearing down her opponent 6-7, 6-4, 6-1 on Centre Court.

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