Venus Williams makes a forehand return to Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova during their quarterfinal game at the Australian Open in Melbourne, Australia. Picture: The Associated Press /Times Free Press.

By Oladapo Okeowo

Time is being rolled back by Venus as she defies age to keep the possibility of a William sisters’ final alive after beating No. 24-seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4, 7-6 (3) on Tuesday, to seal her place in the semi-finals and in history as the oldest semi-finalist in the Australian Open.

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With that win, the 36-year old qualified for her first  Australian Open semis in 14 years.

Venus would face Coco Vandeweghe, who also is having a fairy tale Open, in the semi-final after she beat the French Open holder, Garbine Muguruza, in straight sets.

“I want to go further,” said Venus who had earlier hinted at a desire to play her sister in the final, “I’m not happy just with this. I’m just so excited that I have another opportunity to play again.”

Venus’ opponent, 25-year-old Vandeweghe, the first unseeded women’s player to make it to the semi-final stage of a major since Wimbledon 2001, scored another big scalp after beating 7th seed Garbine Muguruza 6-4, 6-0 in under 90 minutes.

The conqueror of the holder and world number one, Angelique Kerber, could not hide her delight at the win.


“It was not the performance of my life, I was not feeling that great, I was kind of nervous,” Vandeweghe said. “I went out and tried to play my best, stay within myself and keep my patterns

“Ï kept the pressure on in the first set. Once she cracked, I was like a freight train in the second set.”

Venus and Vanderweghe have met only once with Venus coming out the winner.