Venus rolls back clock to reach Wim­ble­don fi­nal

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

LON­DON: Five-time cham­pion Venus Wil­liams rolled back the years to reach her first Wim­ble­don fi­nal since 2009 with a clin­i­cally ex­e­cuted 6-4, 6-2 vic­tory over Bri­tish hope Jo­hanna Konta yes­ter­day.

Konta was look­ing to be­come the first woman on home soil to reach the Wim­ble­don fi­nal since Vir­ginia Wade in 1977, but she was picked off at cru­cial times by the 37-yearold Wil­liams, who will face Gar­bine Mugu­ruza in to­mor­row’s fi­nal.

Wil­liams, who claimed the last of her Wim­ble­don ti­tles nine years ago, was too strong for her op­po­nent from the base­line and was able to pro­duce boom­ing serves when­ever the Bri­ton threat­ened.

After ini­tially go­ing toe-to-toe with the seven-time grand slam win­ner, Konta was un­able to put Wil­liams un­der sus­tained pres­sure and ended the con­test a clear sec­ond best, los­ing eight of the fi­nal 10 games.

Konta saved two match points be­fore Wil­liams fi­nally ended her re­sis­tance, smash­ing a fore­hand that flew past the Bri­ton and left the Amer­i­can to twirl in cel­e­bra­tion on Cen­tre Court.

“I’ve played a lot of fi­nals here. One more win will be amaz­ing. It won’t be a given but I’ll give it my all,” Wil­liams said.

“The crowd were very nice to me. The crowd were so fair, I know they love Jo.”

Konta’s one chance to up­set Wil­liams came in the ninth game of the first set when the Bri­ton crafted two break points, but Wil­liams saved the first with a back­hand win­ner and launched a 106mph sec­ond serve to level the score at deuce.

That was as good as it got for Konta, who was im­me­di­ately bro­ken in the next game.

Wil­liams then turned the screw on her sixth-seeded op­po­nent, break­ing twice more to wrap up the match in an hour and 13 min­utes.

Mugu­ruza is aim­ing to be­come the first Span­ish woman for 23 years to win Wim­ble­don – and yet again a Wil­liams sis­ter stands in her way.

The 23-year-old stormed into the fi­nal by beat­ing Mag­dalena Ry­barikova yes­ter­day. Only one Spa­niard has pre­vi­ously lifted the Wim­ble­don women’s ti­tle – Con­chita Martinez, who has been coach­ing Mugu­ruza at this tour­na­ment.

It will be Mugu­ruza’s sec­ond Wim­ble­don fi­nal, hav­ing been de­feated in 2015 by Venus’ sis­ter Ser­ena, a seven-time win­ner.

“I al­ways stare at the wall where there are all the names of the pre­vi­ous win­ners. In the past years, you see the Wil­liams sur­name a lot,” Mugu­ruza said.

“So I look for­ward to putting a Span­ish name back there.”

“Fac­ing Venus, you know, she won here like five times.

“She knows how to play, es­pe­cially Wim­ble­don fi­nals. It’s go­ing to be a his­toric fi­nal again,” she said. — Reuters

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