LONDON, Great Britain – Five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams is back into the final for the ninth time in her career after battling past Britain’s Johanna Konta in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2.
Venus broke Konta three times in the close, hour and 16 minute clash to reach her first final at the All England Club since 2009.
"I've played a lot of finals here, it's been a blessing,” Venus told press after the match. “I can't ask for more, but I want a little more.
“I thought the crowd was so nice to me today. Konta played so well, no point was easy. I just tried to climb on top each time, to get another point, and wow, it was over."
Venus aged 37, was already the oldest player to advance to the semifinals of a Grand Slam since 37-year-old Martina Navratilova’s run to the 1994 Wimbledon final. Now with the victory she’s bidding to become the oldest Grand Slam champion in the Open Era.
The pair came out onto Centre Court evenly matched for the majority of the opening exchanges. Both players enjoy big serves with deep, flat groundstrokes, and neither allowed a break point during the first eight games.
It was Venus who blinked first, hitting her first double fault followed by a flubbed swing volley at 4-4 to give Konta a look at two break points. But the five-time champion saved them both with fearless tennis – including a gutsy 106 mph second serve – and then then turned around the momentum in the next game. Venus took advantage of a sloppy service game from the Brit to grab the first break, taking the opening set.
With the tight first set already under her belt, everything seemed to go Venus’ way in the second, including a pair of lucky net cords in the same game. Konta – whose serve was under pressure the whole match due to Venus’ aggressive return stance – then struck a double fault and Venus quickly took the first break.
One more break sealed the match, and Venus’ spot into her second Grand Slam semifinal of 2017.
“It was very difficult for me to get a good foothold in the match,” Konta admitted in her post-match press conference. “The few opportunities that I did get, she did incredibly well to take them away from me. I don't think I did too much wrong out there. I think it was all credit to her.”
The American will take on 2015 runner-up Garbiñe Muguruza next for a shot at a sixth Wimbledon crown, and she leads Muguruza 3-1 in the pair’s head-to-head record. Muguruza booked her spot in the final after dropping just two games on her way to a 6-1, 6-1 demolition of Magdalena Rybarikova.
"We both play really well on grass, and the last time she played Serena so I’ll have to ask Serena for some pointers,” Venus joked. “Serena is always in my corner, and it's usually her in these finals. I'm just trying my best to represent ‘Williams’ as best I can."
Saturday’s winner will also move into the Top 5 of the WTA rankings on Monday.
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