Williams sisters roll on
By Howard Fendrich
WIMBLEDON, England ó One prematch glance Tuesday at the data displayed on the new digital scoreboards at staid, old Wimbledon provided a pretty persuasive case for why Venus Williams might be considered the woman to beat.
The entry under career record at the grass-court Grand Slam: i55-7.î The listing of her best result: iWINNER 2007, 2005, 2001, 2000.î
Yet another reason to like the Americanís chances: The way she served during the ensuing 6-4, 6-3 quarterfinal victory over Tamarine Tanasugarn ó smacking eight aces, saving nine of the 10 break points, tying her Wimbledon record with a 127 mph delivery.
That extended Williamsí winning streak at the All England Club to 12 matches, including 19 sets in a row. Nonetheless, at least one person who knows a thing or two about tennis and a thing or two about Venus Williams flatly rejected the notion that sheís the favorite: Serena Williams.
Asked after her own impressive quarterfinal victory ó 6-4, 6-0 against 11th-ranked Agnieszka Radwanska ó whether her older sister should be considered the likeliest champion, Serena shot back: iI would never sit here and say sheís the favorite when Iím still in the draw. What are you on?î
Rather than a sibling rivalry, that response perhaps reflects nothing more than the sort of competitive drive that helped the younger Williams win eight Grand Slam singles titles. That haul includes the 2002 and 2003 Wimbledon championships, each time concluded by beating her sister.
One more win apiece and theyíll reprise the all-in-the-family final tradition Saturday. In Thursdayís semifinals, Serena will face 133rd-ranked Zheng Jie, who became the first Chinese player to reach the semifinals at a major tournament by upsetting 18th-seeded Nicole Vaidisova 6-2, 5-7, 6-1.
Venus next plays the highest remaining seed in No. 5 Elena Dementieva, who beat No. 21 Nadia Petrova 6-1, 6-7 (6), 6-3.
Zheng, the first wild-card entrant to reach the womenís semifinals at Wimbledon, has said she will donate her winnings to the victims of the May 12 earthquake in Sichuan.
iI just try my best to keep going,î Zheng said.
iChina has quite a lot of sports in which it is a world leader. Unfortunately, tennis is not one of them.î
Neither Williams has dropped a set during the tournament, and their seedings ó Serena is No. 6, Venus is No. 7 ó certainly seem to have been miscalculated.
Itís the first time at any Grand Slam in the 40-year Open era that none of the four top-seeded women reached the quarterfinals, making the path even smoother for the siblings.
Hard to believe, but there hasnít been a Williams vs. Williams final at a tournament since 2003 at the All England Club.
And what if they do meet again for the title, in what would be their seventh matchup in a Grand Slam final? What would breakfast be like Saturday morning at the place theyíre sharing here?
iIím going to sabotage her and eat all the breakfast,î Serena said. iIíll eat all the Wheaties so she doesnít have any chance.î