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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 June, 2005, 15:08 GMT 16:08 UK
Williams sees off battling Pierce
By Caroline Cheese
BBC Sport at Wimbledon

Venus Williams set up a semi-final against defending champion Maria Sharapova with a 6-0 7-6 (12-10) win over France's Mary Pierce.

The American came out firing and some crunching returns gave her the first set in just 21 minutes.

But Pierce fought her way back into the match, trading ferocious groundstrokes with the twice former champion.

However, in an enthralling tie-break, the Frenchwoman squandered five set points before Williams came through.

"Somehow I stayed in there - Mary was unbelievable," said Williams.

"I'm an experienced player and I've been to the last four so many times before and I know what I'm doing.

"I'm taking it one match at a time. Next I have my semi-final and I'm feeling good."

Pierce will be kicking herself that she did not at least take Williams into a deciding set.

The 30-year-old, a finalist at last month's French Open, was completely overwhelmed in the first set.

But after saving two break points at 1-0 in the second, Pierce finally held serve and allowed herself a smile as the crowd cheered loudly.

A relieved Pierce grew in confidence as the set progressed and the Centre Court crowd willed the Frenchwoman on in the tie-break.

However, despite numerous chances, she was unable to find the final flourish.

Interview: 14th seed Venus Williams

Highlights: Wimbledon day eight

Hawk-Eye: Venus wins after tense tie-break

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