Venus and Serena make it family affair in final

SERENA WILLIAMS will face sister Venus for the third time in a Wimbledon final tomorrow after bringing Zheng Jie’s incredible run to an end with a 6-2 7-6 (7-5) win.

Williams produced another performance bristling with accuracy and intensity to fight past Zheng, the world number 133 who had already made history as the first player from China to reach a grand slam semi-final.

And Williams will now get the chance to make it a hat-trick of Wimbledon victories in a family affair, having got the better of Venus in their two previous finals in 2002 and 2003.

Zheng had her moments, not least the searing backhand return winner which gave her a break for a 4-2 lead in the second set, and the fine return which fashioned a second set point at 6-5 on the Williams serve.

But Williams showed the heart of champion to battle through the problems posed by Zheng, holding her nerve as the Chinese girl battled back in the tie-breaker and ultimately progressing on an unfortunate Zheng double-fault.

Said Serena: “She definitely pushed me and she played a great game.

“I’m happy to be back in a Grand Slam final. I didn’t want to go to three sets. I could have done that, but I didn’t want to. I wanted to close it out with some big serves.”

On the prospect of another final against her sister Venus, she added: “She’s a tough opponent. I think she’ll be the toughest opponent I’ve played but I’m happy to have come this far and I’m excited.”

Venus, for her part, is one match from a fifth Wimbledon singles title after beating Russia’s Elena Dementieva in straight sets yesterday.

The defending champion won 6-1, 7-6 (7/3) but had to reject claims from her opponent afterwards that the decider will be decided by the Williams family.

“Our goal is getting to the final and from there it is every Williams for themselves,” she said.

Williams, speaking before her sister’s game, said she would relish the prospect of a rematch with Serena, to whom she lost in the Wimbledon finals of 2002 and 2003.

“I am looking forward to that final and I am dying for Serena to get through. This is my seventh final and I’m looking forward to playing her for a third time in the final.”

Dementieva admitted she had struggled to cope with the quality of Williams’s tennis in the opening set.

“She started really well, she was dominating and putting a lot of pressure on my serve,” said the Russian.

“She likes to hit hard, she’s got a good serve and it is an excellent surface for her.

“But she does get tight at times, so I was just trying to make her play and keep the ball in play and that’s what happened.

“It was a completely different game in the second set,” she added.

For a player who frequently struggles with the tennis equivalent of the yips, Dementieva’s decision to serve first after winning the toss was unexpected.

As it turned out, it was also unwise. Inside a minute, the Russian found herself 0-40 down, Williams claimed the break at the second attempt and that set the tone for a one-sided first set.

Dementieva, the fifth seed, gave a better account of herself in the second, rallying from 2-0 down and then matching her opponent blow for blow until the tiebreak, in which Williams was always in control, finally bringing proceedings to a halt after one hour and 41 minutes on Centre Court.

“She is a similar player to me with a lot of power so I knew I’d have to do what we both do a little better,” Williams said.

“It was important I managed to get ahead in the tiebreak and not let it go.”

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