Sister act sets up Williams final

VENUS WILLIAMS ensured the Wimbledon final would be another family affair with a devastating performance against Russia’s Dinara Safina at SW19 yesterday.

Venus was a picture of power and precision as she defeated Safina 6-1 6-0 in just 51 minutes, after sister Serena earlier had won an epic three-sets semi-final against Elena Dementieva.

There was no way Venus, the five-times champion, was being sucked into such a dogfight.

Her semi-final was a much more subdued affair as she outclassed the world number one from the moment she settled into her big-hitting groove, winning the first nine points of the match and breaking the Safina service in the process.

Safina simply could not cope with the Williams serve, with one ace in the third game clocking in at 124mph, the fastest in the women’s tournament.

Safina managed to get her side of the scoreboard ticking in the sixth game but it was no consolation as Venus, if anything, stepped up the power on her groundstrokes.

It was becoming a lesson in intimidation and when Venus promptly broke the Safina service at the start of the second set the match essentially was over.

Safina’s mind appeared scrambled with the humiliation which was befalling her and Williams raced into a 4-0 lead, her opponent winning just four points in the process.

Unforced errors sprayed from Safina’s racket as she began to panic, rushing her forehands, and a double fault in the fifth game handed Williams another break of serve.

The end eventually came when Safina dumped another forehand into the net to allow Venus to take the match, after which she expressed her delight at another all-Williams, all-American final on July 4.

Venus said: “This is my eighth final and it is a dream come true to have another opportunity to hold the plate up.

“I was able to stay focused and I have so much experience on this court. But the hardest part has to come, to play Serena in the final.”

Earlier, Serena fought back from the brink of a shock defeat to stay on course for a third Wimbledon title with victory over Elena Dementieva in the longest women’s semi-final in history.

The 27-year-old was forced to produce all her battling qualities to overcome a spirited Dementieva, who produced a brilliant performance but still bowed out at the last-four stage for the second year in a row.

Williams saved a match point in the second set before forcing a decider and winning 6-7 (7/4) 7-5 8-6 in an epic duel on Centre Court that lasted 12 minutes short of three hours.

“It was really tough,” Williams said. “She’s been playing so well and has won a lot of matches against me in the past.

“I was not on my best game but my family were so positive. Elena played so well and we gave the crowd a wonderful match.”

Today sees the men take centre stage and last night Andy Murray prepared for his semi-final by taking in boxing and UFC footage on YouTube he revealed.

And he will face a tough fight against hard-serving American Andy Roddick when the pair walk out on Centre Court tomorrow

He said he was trying to relax ahead of his match with Roddick, the 26-year-old former world number one.

“You’re not really going to do a whole lot of work the day before you play a semi-final of a grand slam,” he said. “So I just warm up playing the football and then hit a few balls, have some fun and not try to think about the match the following day just yet.”

In the other semi-final, Roger Federer will face German 24th seed Tommy Haas.

And Federer is looking to make history of his own with a record-breaking 15th Grand Slam title.

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