The Williams sisters, Venus and Serena, on Tuesday went through to the semi-finals of the 2016 Wimbledon Tennis Championships to set up prospects of an all-Williams final.
Five-time champion Venus Williams reached the semi-finals for the first time since 2009 with victory over Kazakhstan’s Yaroslava Shvedova earlier in the day.
Eighth seed Venus — at 36 the oldest Grand Slam semi-finalist for 22 years — beat unseeded Shvedova 7-6 (7-5), 6-3.
Top seed Serena later beat Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4, 6-4.
In Thursday’s semis, Serena will take on Russia’s Elena Vesnina, while Venus will take on Germany’s Angelique Kerber.
“We don’t really talk too much about it (playing against each other in the final), but we are playing doubles later. So, we are just happy to be in the semi-finals,” Serena said after her match.
But she acknowledged that it would be great to have the match.
“Venus is such a tough opponent I want her to win so bad — not in the final if I am there, but if I’m not, I do.’’
Kerber, the competition’s fourth seed, beat Romanian fifth seed Simona Halep 7-5, 7-6 (7-2) in the opening match on Centre Court.
Unseeded Russian Vesnina thrashed Slovakian 19th seed Cibulkova 6-2, 6-2 in the remaining quarter-final on court one.
Venus Williams had showed she remains a real threat on the All England Club grass with an impressive win over world number 96 Shvedova.
The champion in 2000, 2001, 2005, 2007 and 2008 made it through to her first Grand Slam semi-final since the 2010 US Open.
At 36, she is the oldest major semi-finalist since Martina Navratilova finished runner-up at Wimbledon in 1994.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Williams had slipped outside the world’s top 100 in 2011 after being diagnosed with the immune system disease Sjogren’s Disease.
The American, who played her first Wimbledon in 1997, recovered from losing an early break to win the opening set tie-break from 5-2 down.
She then dominated the second set, racing into a 5-1 lead and holding off signs of a Shvedova comeback to serve out the win.
“What a tough day on the court,’’ Williams added. “The tie-breaker, it felt like she would win. I felt like my opponent was on fire.
“I felt like the crowd enjoyed all the great points. She got them involved in the last game. We gave them good tennis today.’’
Serena Williams’ semi-finals qualification is far less of a surprise than that of her sister, but the world number one needed to be at her best to see off Pavlyuchenkova.
The American, 34, converted the only two break points of a desperately tight contest.
The first was with a crushing backhand return in the opening set, and the second was due to a Pavlyuchenkova double fault in the second.
Serena, the six-time champion and defending champion, fired down 11 aces and 29 winners as she closes in on a 22nd Grand Slam singles title.
“It was good,’’ she said. “I am excited to be able to win and get through, it felt really good. I knew Venus was up 5-1 and then I saw [the result] on the court [scoreboard], so I was like `Yay’.
“I am just trying to win my match. I knew I had a tough opponent and one thing I have learnt this year is just to focus on the match.’’
Vesnina completely dominated against Cibulkova, who appeared to run out of energy after a successful run that began with winning the Eastbourne title ahead of Wimbledon.
The Slovakian can at least take comfort that she does not have to postpone her wedding, which can now go ahead as planned on Saturday.
Australian Open champion Kerber edged past Halep in a contest of terrific rallying, with returns very much dominating over serves.
NAN reports that there were eight successive breaks in the first set, and 13 in total, but the Centre Court crowd was thrilled by much of the shot-making.
Halep was always coming from behind, before ultimately succumbing with a double-fault to hand over the first set.
In spite of twice recovering breaks in the second, a rash of errors gave Kerber a deserved win in the tie-break.
“I think actually it was a good match, on a really high level from both of us,’’ said the German.
“There were a lot of breaks but I think because we are both great return players, it was not so easy to serve actually. It was a really high level match.’’(NAN)