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03 Jul 2008 16:51
Champion Venus Williams powered her way to her seventh Wimbledon final on Thursday with a matter-of-fact 6-1, 7-6 victory over Russian Elena Dementieva.
Williams, aiming for her fifth Wimbledon title, launched an array of blistering serves and ferocious groundstrokes at the 26-year-old fifth seed and allowed her to hold serve just once in the opening set.
Standing inside the baseline to receive the Dementieva serve, Williams attacked every point and came up to the net to unleash an aggressive overhead shot across the court to take the first set.
After Williams broke at the start of the second, it looked like another one-sided set was on the cards but Dementieva suddenly seemed to find a will to fight and managed a rare break of the Williams serve in the third game after a lucky netcord.
The Russian, appearing in the last four at Wimbledon for the first time, was buoyed by the breakthrough and seemingly lifted by a Centre Court crowd who were cheering on the underdog.
She surprised the 28-year-old Williams with some excellent passing shots and seemed to have got better at dealing with the often more than 192km/h serves that kept hurtling towards her.
The second set was more of a contest and Dementieva deservedly found herself in a tiebreak, although she was then let down by errors that handed Williams three match points.
The experienced six-times grand slam winner needed just one of them to pounce and seal the match with a powerful forehand.
Williams said she was kicking herself for letting her opponent back into the match but that ultimately she was delighted to be back in a final.
“I had the early break, I was a little disappointed that I didn’t hold on to that,” she said, adding that she was pleased to have come through this far without dropping a set.
“It’s so exciting. I’m looking forward to that final.”
There she will face either her younger sister Serena or China’s Zheng Jie, who were playing in the day’s other semifinal.
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