Kerber and Vesnina out to halt march of Williams sisters

Wed Jul 6, 2016 12:14pm EDT
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By Alison Williams

LONDON (Reuters) - It would be hard to bet against the Williams sisters meeting in their first Wimbledon final since 2009, but Angelique Kerber and Elena Vesnina won't just be making up the numbers in the last four on Thursday.

While unseeded Vesnina has described her semi-final against world number one Serena Williams as a dream, she is playing inspired tennis, bringing the guile from two doubles slams to deliver baseline power and a deft touch at the net.

Fourth seed Kerber, meanwhile, has a 3-2 head-to-head lead over five-time champion Venus Williams and stunned younger sister Serena, who has won Wimbledon six times, at the Australian Open in January to win her first major final.

All four will bring a wealth of experience to Centre Court -- their average age is 31 years and nine months, the oldest for the last four in an open era women's major.

"The experienced players are ready to keep winning. They want to keep being great," Serena, 34, told reporters after she ground down 21st seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the quarter-finals.

She is aiming to equal Steffi Graf's open era record of 22 majors by lifting the trophy on Saturday, having been stuck on 21 since last year's Wimbledon. Of the challenge from her 29-year-old Russian opponent, she said: "I'll be ready for it."

Vesnina said of Serena after reaching her first major semi-final: "You have to give all your heart and fight for every single point and just use your chances because it is really difficult to break her, especially here on grass."

Like everlasting opponents on the other side of the net, Vesnina will also be taking on the American sisters in the doubles quarter-finals with her partner Ekaterina Makarova.   Continued...

Britain Tennis - Wimbledon - All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, Wimbledon, England - 5/7/16 Germany's Angelique Kerber celebrates during her match against Romania's Simona Halep REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth