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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 July 2007, 11:37 GMT 12:37 UK
Resurgent Venus into semi-finals
By Sarah Holt
BBC Sport at Wimbledon

Venus Williams
Williams is back to her brilliant best at Wimbledon
Venus Williams sailed into the last four with a straightforward 6-3 6-4 win over Svetlana Kuznetsova at Wimbledon.

The three-time champion answered fifth seed Kuznetsova's power game with some crushing returns and broke at 3-1 before serving out the first set.

The pair swapped breaks in the second in the swirling Centre Court wind but a relentless Williams broke again to close it out on a fifth match point.

She meets Ana Ivanovic who fought back to beat Nicole Vaidisova 4-6 6-2 7-5.

"I was able to stay tough against a great opponent," Williams said after the match.

"I felt so motivated and just tried to take my time when the wind was gusting, but it was in all directions and was a challenge."

Williams, who has only played in seven tournaments this season, looked back to her brilliant best as she again called on her big-match temperament to see her through.

The 28th seed carved out her first break point in the fourth game, forcing Kuznetsova to net a backhand with a strong return of serve.

I feel confident going into the semis, I'm a big-match player and expect a lot of myself

Venus Williams

The American took her chance in style, tempting the fifth seed forward before sending a passing shot right down the line in plumes of chalk to seal the break.

Williams, who won 76% of points on her first serve, stayed solid to serve out the set.

The 27-year-old maintained the pressure on Kuznetsova and broke through again in the fifth game of the second.

However, Williams was momentarily out-witted by the strong winds on a roofless Centre and Kuznetsova took the chance to break straight back.

Williams did likewise and finally wrapped up the win after wasting four match points to advance to her first Grand Slam semi-final since her winning Wimbledon run in 2005.

The former champion sounded confident about her chances of capturing a fourth title this time around.

Ana Ivanovic
I knew I could do it and just had to play point by point

Ana Ivanovic

"Every year is different and a new challenge but I'll definitely be inspired by 2005," she said.

"Its step-by-step but I feel confident going into the semis, I'm a big-match player and I expect a lot of myself."

Asked who she thought the tournament favourite was, she responded: "Why would I say anyone?"

After a subdued start, Ivanovic staged an amazing fightback to see off fellow teenager Vaidisova and reach her second successive Grand Slam final.

The Serb sixth seed, 19, was outplayed by Vaidisova in the opener, which was held up by an unnecessary eight-minute rain delay.

But the French Open runner-up fought back in the second, breaking twice to force a decider.

606: DEBATE
Marcus

Vaidisova, 18, held the upper hand in the third but Ivanovic staved off three match-points and broke back at 5-5, before breaking again at the last.

"I still can't believe what happened. To win like that was amazing," said the Serb.

"It was really intimidating at the start. To have a chance to play on Centre Court was amazing.

"Later I just tried to forget and focus on the court and my strokes. I played some good tennis when it counted."

SEE ALSO
Kuznetsova-Venus as it happened
05 Jul 07 |  Tennis


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