2017 Wimbledon: Venus Williams reaches Wimbledon semis for 10th time

By The Sports Xchange  |  July 11, 2017 at 9:29 PM
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Venus Williams has reached the semifinals at Wimbledon for the 10th time.

The 37-year-old American outclassed 20-year-old upstart Jelena Ostapenko 6-3, 7-5 in Tuesday's quarterfinal match at the All England Club in London.

Knocking off the French Open champion -- who was just weeks old when Williams first played at Wimbledon -- was an inspirational occurrence for 10th-seeded Venus.

"I love the challenge. I love pressure. It's not always easy dealing with the pressure," Williams said. "There's constant pressure. It's only yourself who can have the answer for that.

"I love the last day you play, you're still improving. It's not something that is stagnant. There's always a reason. You have to get better. I love that. The competition keeps you growing. You have to get better if you want to stay relevant."

Williams will face sixth-seeded Johanna Konta in the semifinals. Konta posted a 6-7 (2), 7-6 (5), 6-4 victory over second-seeded Simona Halep to become the first British woman to reach the Wimbledon semis since Virginia Wade in 1978.

Now she has the opportunity to take another step toward history in her meeting with Williams.

"I definitely feel that age is not a factor with her," Konta told BBC of Williams immediately after dispatching Halep. "She's a tremendous champion, and I feel very, very humbled and I'm very excited to share the court with her again. Last time she got the better of me but we've had many great battles. Hopefully, we will be out to make another great battle."

Konta got past Halep in a two-hour, 38-minute showdown.

Halep of Romania won the first set in a tiebreak and had Konta on the ropes. But Konta survived to win the second set in a tiebreak and she was the stronger player during the final set.

"I felt I really stuck to my true self and just tried to create as many opportunities as possible," Konta told BBC.

Halep missed out on the opportunity to move to No. 1 in the world rankings -- Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic will move up instead -- but felt she put a good effort.

"I think was it close to the best match I played on grass, maybe the best," Halep said. "She played really well, and she deserved to win."

Garbine Muguruza faces Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia in the other semifinal. Rybarikova reached her first career Grand Slam semifinal by recording a solid 6-3, 6-3 victory over 24th-seeded American CoCo Vandeweghe, who committed 30 unforced errors.

The 13th-seeded Ostapenko pushed hard to even the match with Williams by delivering a strong second set. But the Latvian committed a few unforced errors to help Williams take a 6-5 lead and then Williams put the match away to post her 86th career Wimbledon victory, matching sister Serena for third in the Open Era.

Williams had eight aces while Ostapenko managed just one.

"Been working on that serve," Williams said. "It's working out for me just in time, just for these later rounds. I'd like to think that I can continue to rely on that as the matches continue."

All Ostapenko could do afterward was rave about Williams' play.

"She's a great player," Ostapenko said. "Of course, I wanted to show my best today. But I think she played really well, as I said.

"Because I was watching her first matches, like couple of matches this tournament, and I think every match she was playing better and better. Especially she was serving very well today."

Meanwhile, Muguruza sailed past seventh-seeded Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3, 6-4 to reach the semifinals for the second time in three years.

The 14th-seeded Muguruza fought off Kuznetsova's 21 winners to close the match in just 75 minutes.

"I'm very happy and very pleased also with this match, because obviously Kuznetsova is a very tough opponent," Muguruza said. "We all know she has been and is a great player. I managed to play a good level during all the match. I earned the victory."

The Spaniard is just two victories away from her second Grand Slam win. Muguruza's first was the 2016 French Open.

"I think a lot of things have to click to be able to win a major," Muguruza said. "I think I'm feeling pretty good. I'm being aggressive and not doing a lot of errors that maybe I could do sometimes. So it's a bunch of things. Being physically good, as well, with all the matches."

Kuznetsova was hurt by 12 unforced errors.

"I think in the start I had some options on her serve," she said. "I had 0-30, 15-40, but couldn't turn it around. Then I just lost silly break, quite fast one, the first set. Then it was again everything even. Second break in the second set, it's pretty simple.

"But these small moments, small chances really matters a lot. I think Garbine recovered very good today. She defended very good."

Muguruza will face a surprise semifinal opponent in Rybarikova, an unseeded player ranked 87th in the world.

Rybarikova played steady tennis and took advantage of Vandeweghe's numerous miscues to pull off the stunning victory.

"I cannot believe I am a Wimbledon semifinalist," Rybarikova said after her match. "I need to sleep on it to believe it. I'm so happy and grateful. I had a really tough time and right now I'm here."

The match started on Court 1 and was interrupted due to rain early in the second set. It was later moved to Centre Court and Rybarikova won four of the five games to finish off Vandeweghe.

Vandeweghe blew up at the chair umpire during the final game after a ball hit by Rybarikova was originally ruled out and then reversed to in to drop her down 0-30.

"That's baloney!" Vandeweghe said. "Have you ever played tennis? Are you serious? How are you that wrong?"

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