Venus Williams is through to her first Australian Open semifinal since 2003 without dropping a set after powering past Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, 6-4, 7-6(3).
WTA Staff

MELBOURNE, Australia - Venus Williams is through to her first Australian Open semifinal since 2003 without dropping a set after powering past Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, 6-4, 7-6(3).

"It's wonderful to be here to start the year out with this," an emotional Venus told the crowd on Rod Laver Arena. "I want to go further! I'm not happy just with this, but I'm just happy to be in the position to go further."

Venus was made to work for every point by the No.24-seeded Pavlyuchenkova, who was into her first Australian Open quarterfinal and looking for a career-first Grand Slam semifinal appearance.

Pavlyuchenkova punished Venus' vulnerable second serve throughout the match, and the American found herself trailing down a break twice in both sets. But the experience of the seven-time Grand Slam champion showed in the big moments, and she broke back each time as Pavlyuchenkova faltered.

"I just think I wasn't fresh enough to really go for the serves," the Russian explained later in press. "I knew that I had to serve good because she's very aggressive on the baseline and return. I was kind of putting a bit of pressure on myself on the serve. That's why the percentage went low."

Venus stayed aggressive throughout the hour and forty-seven minute affair, hitting 35 winners to Pavlyuchenkova's 17 and striking 29 unforced errors against 32. She was a force at the net as well, winning 81% of the 16 points finished at the net.

Venus Williams

The victory is Venus' 50th win at the Australian Open, and, at 36 years old, she becomes the oldest player to reach a Grand Slam semifinal since Martina Navratilova in 1994 Wimbledon.

"I have a lot to give to the game," Venus said in her post-match press conference. "I feel like I have a lot of great tennis in me. So any time you feel that way, you continue.

"Why not? I have nothing to lose, literally."

Venus will play the unseeded CoCo Vandeweghe for a spot in the final after the American knocked out No.7 seed Garbiñe Muguruza in straight sets.

"To have that thought that there's going to be at least one U.S. player in the final is great for American tennis," Venus said.

"I'm sure she's going to want to be in her first final. I'm going to want to be in only my second final here. So it's going to be a well-contested match."