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Page last updated at 16:15 GMT, Thursday, 2 July 2009 17:15 UK

Venus and Serena through to final

WIMBLEDON
Date: 22 June - 5 July
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Serena Williams

Highlights - Serena overcomes Dementieva

By Caroline Cheese
BBC Sport at Wimbledon

Serena Williams will face sister Venus in Saturday's Wimbledon final after prevailing in a marathon tussle with Russian Elena Dementieva.

Second seed Serena saved a match point before coming through 6-7 (4-7) 7-5 8-6 in two hours and 48 minutes.

The match was the longest women's semi-final in recent Wimbledon history.

Venus's encounter with top seed Dinara Safina was in complete contrast, the defending champion completing an embarrassingly one-sided 6-1 6-0 win.

That match all but undid the good work of the first semi-final, a pulsating encounter which had provided a much-needed fillip for women's tennis.

One criticism directed at the women's game is that Safina has risen to the top of the women's rankings without winning a Grand Slam title.

That record remains after a miserable first appearance in the Wimbledon semi-finals, the Russian completely outclassed by Venus in 51 minutes.

"This is my eighth final," Venus told BBC Sport.

Final spot 'dream come true' for Venus

"It's a dream come true to be here again and to have the opportunity to hold the plate up.

"Dinara is so talented and she's played so consistently in the last year. I went out there and was able to stay focused. I have so much experience on that court, it helps a lot."

Venus would have been forgiven for losing her focus after watching her younger sister come through a thrilling battle with Dementieva.

"It was so hard to watch that drama," she admitted. "But the hardest part is yet to come: to play Serena Williams."

The pair will meet on Saturday in their fourth Wimbledon final when Venus will seek her sixth title, and Serena her third.

The younger sister teetered on the brink of defeat against Dementieva, saving a match point at 5-4 in a tense third set with a brave volley.

Serena delighted to beat 'tough' Dementieva

"It was really, really tough," a relieved Williams told BBC Sport.

"Elena's been playing really well and she's beaten me a few times. We gave the crowd a wonderful match so it was great."

Asked what she thought at match point down, she replied: "I thought 'ace'. I thought if I can just stay calm and think positive..."

A packed Centre Court crowd were treated to an encounter featuring 72 winners and a series of dizzying baseline exchanges.

For Dementieva, though, it was a potentially crushing experience.

"The only regret I have is to take a little bit more risk on the match point," said the 27-year-old.

"For sure I feel disappointed because it was a very close match but I think the way I was playing is more important than the result. It was definitely my best match on grass."

The Russian, looking to reach her first Wimbledon final, held her nerve to come through the first-set tie-break, despite double-faulting on her first set point.

Dementieva rues match-point miss

However, when Dementieva's mental strength came under scrutiny in the second set, it failed her.

Williams broke to lead 6-5 but Dementieva had four opportunities to level the set, the last a relatively simple backhand which she managed to put wide.

The Russian's response was to crouch with her head in her hands, and Williams compounded her misery by clinching the set with an ace.

Dementieva still refused to crumble, while Williams' renowned fighting qualities came to the fore in an absorbing deciding set.

At 5-4, Williams faced a match point, and missed her first serve, but the American boldly ventured to the net, her forehand volley brushing the top of the net before landing in the open court.

606: DEBATE
KidCharlemage

Dementieva had more chances at 6-5, twice pegging Williams back to deuce, but the world number two clinched it with a forehand passing shot which had her screaming towards her support camp and punching the air in delight - and, no doubt, relief.

That proved to be the turning point.

Williams broke in the next game, and reached the final for the fifth time when Dementieva was forced wide.

Centre Court was half-empty as Venus and Safina entered the arena, the crowd taking a break after the drama of the first semi-final.

Many may not have returned in time to catch a glimpse of five-times champion Venus, who made just one unforced error in a near-flawless display.

Safina lost the first eight points and won only eight points in total in the second set.

"She's just too good on grass," said the Russian.

"It's not my favourite surface, and it's her favourite surface. I think she gave me a pretty good lesson today."

Venus Williams

Highlights - Venus demolishes Safina



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see also
Pundits applaud Williams sisters
02 Jul 09 |  Tennis
Wimbledon day 10 as it happened
02 Jul 09 |  Tennis
Rampant Serena crushes Azarenka
30 Jun 09 |  Tennis
Safina sets up Venus semi-final
30 Jun 09 |  Tennis
Wimbledon day eight as it happened
30 Jun 09 |  Tennis
Wimbledon: Live map
22 Jun 09 |  Tennis
Order of play
23 May 09 |  Tennis
Women's singles results
26 Jun 07 |  Results
Women's singles draw
28 Jan 10 |  Tennis
Results
26 Jun 07 |  Results
Men's singles draw
26 Aug 11 |  Tennis


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