Serena on verge of 22nd major, again, after thrashing Vesnina

Thu Jul 7, 2016 3:10pm EDT
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By Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) - A Champagne cork popped somewhere on Centre Court four games into Serena Williams's Wimbledon semi-final and while it was a tad premature, her 6-2 6-0 thrashing of Elena Vesnina suggested she could be celebrating something special come Saturday.

The top-seeded American will be taking nothing for granted when she plays Angelique Kerber in the final, having seen her bid to match Steffi Graf's modern era record of grand slam titles stuck one short on 21 for a year, but it was a menacing show of strength, albeit against an overawed opponent.

She dropped only three points on serve in an embarrassingly one-sided 48 minutes in Thursday's first semi-final -- crunching down one 123mph delivery that topped the women's speed charts at this year's tournament.

From the moment the 34-year-old nonchalantly broke serve in the opening game the writing was on the wall for a leaden-footed Vesnina who lasted three minutes less than Dinara Safina did against Venus Williams in the previous shortest modern era women's semi-final in 2009.

By the time the latecomers shuffled to their seats two games later, Serena was 3-0 ahead and her place in a ninth Wimbledon final, barring a tumble, was already looking a done deal.

She will land a seventh Wimbledon title if she beats Germany's fourth seed Kerber in a repeat of this year's Australian Open final that she surprisingly lost in three sets.

If any more incentive were needed there is family honour at stake after Kerber beat older sister Venus 6-4 6-4 in the second semi-final, denying the 36-year-old a first Wimbledon final since 2009 when Serena beat her.


Britain Tennis - Wimbledon - All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, Wimbledon, England - 7/7/16 USA's Serena Williams celebrates winning her match against Russia's Elena Vesnina REUTERS/Toby Melville