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    Tuesday, July 11, 2017

    Venus Becomes Oldest Wimbledon Semi-Finalist For 23 years

    Venus Williams became the oldest Wimbledon semi-finalist for 23 years as the five-time champion brushed aside French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko to make it into the last four on Tuesday.
    Williams' 73-minute masterclass on Centre Court clinched a 6-3, 7-5 victory that made her the most senior player to reach the semi-finals since Martina Navratilova in 1994.
    The American star, who reached the last of her eight Wimbledon finals in 2009, faces Britain's Johanna Konta or Romania's Simona Halep in the last four on Thursday.
    World number 11 Williams, beaten in this year's Australian Open final, was knocked out in the 2016 semi-finals and is chasing a first major title since winning Wimbledon in 2008.
    Williams' victory equalled her sister Serena's total of 86 main draw match victories at Wimbledon, the most among any active player.
    She will climb back into the top 10 thanks to her Wimbledon run, but breaking Serena's record to become the tournament's oldest champion in the Open era is her sole focus.
    Twenty years after making her Wimbledon debut, Venus was playing in her 100th singles match at the All England Club, while Ostapenko was in only her eighth.
    That gulf in experience was immediately apparent when Venus broke in the second game and cruised through the first set in serene fashion.

    Having stunned the tennis world by becoming the first unseeded player to win the French Open last month, Ostapenko was riding an 11-match winning streak at the majors.
    But Ostapenko, 20, was the youngest player left in the tournament and Venus has scythed through the draw by dispatching a series of opponents almost half her age, many of whom idolised the seven-time Grand Slam champion when they were growing up.
    Williams was just too canny for the fresh-faced Ostapenko, manoeuvering her out of position time and again before delivering the kill shot.
    After breaking in the third game of the second set, Williams moved into a 3-1 lead, then endured her only wobble as Ostapenko broke back.
    Williams was unfazed and shattered Ostapenko's spirit with another break before serving out a commanding win.

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