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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 January 2007, 01:22 GMT
Williams v Vaidisova as it happened
Australian Open, Melbourne Park

Semi-final result:

S Williams (US) v N Vaidisova (Cze)

7-6 6-4


By Tom Fordyce

Second set:

Williams 6-4 Vaidisova
There it is - Serena is pegged back to deuce, but fires an ace wide of Vaidisova's forehand and then smashes a volley away to take the game and match. She leans back and bellows with joy - she's into her first Grand Slam final for two years.

Williams 5-4 Vaidisova
Serena races to 40-0 - three match points, and the fat lady starts to loosen her vocal chords. Then, extraordinarily, Vaidisova starts fighting back. And back. And back. While Wiliams suddenly looks vulnerable. Vaidisova's first serve clicks again, and when a Serena line-call challenge is over-ruled, the game is hers. The crowd can't quite believe it.

Williams 5-3 Vaidisova
Apologies for counting chickens - Vaidisova produces her best service returns of the match to stay alive. She's now hit 30 clean winners, 11 more than Serena - but she's also made more than twice as many unforced errors, and that's the secret story of the match.

Williams 5-2 Vaidisova
Cheers from the crowd as Vaidisova postpones the inevitable. Serena's green visor is soaked in sweat - she's had to work hard, but her opponent's inconsistency has carried her home.

Williams 5-1 Vaidisova
When it's going for you, it really goes for you - Serena cruises to 40-15, challenges a line-call that said her forehand was wide and watches as Hawkeye calls it good by the smallest of margins - approximately one worm's-width.

Williams 4-1 Vaidisova
That could well have been the decisive game. Leading 40-15, Vaidisova comes up with two double faults, watches Serena batter a crosss-court forehand past her and then, tamely, double faults again.

Williams 3-1 Vaidisova
Vaidisova's still fighting hard, but she can't put two good points together - following a sweetly-struck winner with a ballooned volley which gives Serena daylight in the set.

Williams 2-1 Vaidisova
Whoever thought that Serena didn't have the fight or desire to be a Grand Slam champion again has got it wrong. She tears into Vaidisova's serve, gets to break point and snatches the advantage back with an unstoppable forehand.

Williams 1-1 Vaidisova
Hats off to the tyro - clearly angered by her display in the last game, she comes out all shots blazing and gives Serena a taste of her own muscley medicine, snatching back the break with a torpedo of a forehand.

Williams 1-0 Vaidisova
Oh dear. Vaidisova falls apart and is broken to love. She looks heartbroken, but it was her own fault - her serve was weak and her groundstrokes worse. Serena gobbles 'em up.

First set:

Williams 7-6 Vaidisova
Serena surges into a 5-1 lead, only to let Vaidisova right back in with a double fault and patsy second serve. At 5-5 it's wide open - only for Vaidisova to go long with a forehand and Serena come in to the net to put away a winner and take the tie-break. 18 unforced errors from Vaidisova in that set, and that's what did for her in the end.

Williams 6-6 Vaidisova
Plucky stuff from the 17-year-old - with Serena all over her, she stays strong to send the set into a tie-break with two rock-solid forehands into the corners.

Williams 6-5 Vaidisova
Vaidisova gives herself a chance with the sweetest of cross-court forehand winners, only to toss it away with a mis-directed backhand. Serena powers down a fierce first serve at game point, watches Vaidisova frame it into the net and shouts, "Come on!" as she seals the game.

Williams 5-5 Vaidisova
Not this time, she can't... She saves one break point from Williams, only to then mis-fit a forehand into the net and capitulate on the next. We're all square again.

Williams 4-5 Vaidisova
The best game of the match so far. Vaidisova hits two beautifully-angled forehand winners to wangle a break point, watches Serena's second serve clip the net cord and just drop over for a let, and then uses that same cord to turn her mis-hit forehand into an unplayable drop-shot. Can she hold serve for the set?

Williams 4-4 Vaidisova
At 15-30, it's looking grim for the young Czech. But Serena loses concentration, makes two poor errors on her forehand and the set is level. A man in the crowd shouts, "Come on Venus!", getting a surprisingly large amount of laughter for such a lame crack.

Williams 4-3 Vaidisova
The Williams serve is now finding its range - Serena rattles through that service game and goes to her chair a happy woman. Vaidisova lopes over to her own patch and sips thoughtfully from a bottle of bright blue sports drink.

Williams 3-3 Vaidisova
The first sign of weakness from Vaidisova - she goes way long with a forehand to gift Serena a break point, puts her first serve out and then puts a backhand into the tramlines. Williams has her break back, and celebrates with the briefest of fist-clenches.

Williams 2-3 Vaidisova
That's more like it - more evidence of the Williams power of old on the groundstrokes, and it's too much for the young challenger.

Williams 1-3 Vaidisova
Easy hold for Vaidisova - every time Serena hammers a return, Vaidisova sends it back harder. No wonder Serena looks disconcerted.

Williams 1-2 Vaidisova
Now she has - although she's still making too many unforced errors. She gets on the scoreboard with a fierce forehand drive, having wiggled her behind in frustration after an earlier miss.

Williams 0-2 Vaidisova
Errors from Serena, power and accuracy from Vaidisova. Serena's saucer-sized hooped earrings bounce as she goes wide on Vaidisova's forehand side, but Vaidisova holds on. Early days, of course, but Serena hasn't settled at all yet.

Williams 0-1 Vaidisova
What a start from the teenage canary - she takes Serena to deuce, narrowly misses on one break point and then cracks a sweet forehand down the line to snatch the game on the next.


0304 GMT:
This is of course the first meeting between these two players, on court at least. 17-year-old Nicole looks relatively relaxed; Serena looks pensive. Williams wins the toss and elects to serve.

0259 GMT:
Sartorial update: Serena's gone for the bright green number again, while Nicole's in bright yellow with a white trim. Anyone in the stands watching without sunglasses can probably kiss goodbye to their retinas.

0250 GMT:
Another baking day in Melbourne - a token cloud or two in the sky, but nothing to get in the way of that scorching sun. Meanwhile, at BBC TV Centre in west London, it's dark and cold. And possibly snowing outside.

Men's Australian Open draw
13 Jan 07 |  Tennis
Women's Australian Open draw
13 Jan 07 |  Tennis


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