Williams Sisters Are Moving Closer to a Wimbledon Rematch

Defending champion Venus Williams, above, beat Agnieszka Radwanska, 6-1, 6-2, yesterday in 68 minutes to advance to the semifinals. She hasn't lost a set in this year's tournament.
Defending champion Venus Williams, above, beat Agnieszka Radwanska, 6-1, 6-2, yesterday in 68 minutes to advance to the semifinals. She hasn't lost a set in this year's tournament. (By Kirsty Wigglesworth -- Associated Press)
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By Liz Clarke
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 1, 2009

WIMBLEDON, England, June 30 -- With near identical firepower and focus, sisters Venus and Serena Williams moved one step closer to a rematch of last year's Wimbledon final Tuesday, crushing their respective opponents to advance to the tournament's semifinal round.

Venus, Wimbledon's five-time and defending champion, was first to book a spot among the final four with a 6-1, 6-2 rout of Agnieszka Radwanska that took only 68 minutes.

Serena needed just five minutes more to subdue Victoria Azarenka, dismissing the shrill-shrieking, racket-tossing teen from Belarus, 6-2, 6-3.

Now, only two Russians stand in the sisters' way -- Dinara Safina, the tournament's top seed and current world No. 1, and fourth-seeded Elena Dementieva.

Should Venus vanquish Safina, and Serena dismiss Dementieva on Thursday, Wimbledon would be in store for its fourth all-Williams final and its second in a row.

"That would be fantastic," Venus, who is 1-2 against her younger sister in Wimbledon finals. "It's what Serena and I are hoping for, but we still have to play well."

Theirs is a stunning record at the All England club southwest of London, so far removed from the crime-ridden streets of Compton, Calif., where their father and mother taught them the so-called Game of Kings two decades ago.

While Venus and Serena have taken turns atop the world rankings and each hoisted trophies on every surface imaginable, nowhere do their strengths come into play like they do on the lawn of Wimbledon, which accentuates their powerful serves, quick reflexes, court smarts and overall athleticism.

One Williams or the other has won seven of the last nine Wimbledon singles titles. (Venus, in 2000, 2001, 2005, 2007 and 2008; Serena in 2002 and 2003).

And given the dominance they have shown through the tournament's first five rounds, with neither losing a set, it's impossible to imagine that a Williams couldn't add to the family record on Saturday.

Venus, 29, was nearly flawless in the first set against Radwanska despite withering heat, bolting to a 5-0 lead and conceding just one point on her serve throughout the first three service games.

Only a momentary loss of focus early in the second set enabled Radwanska to mount a semblance of a challenge. She broke Venus to take a 2-0 lead, but the rally was short-lived.


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