Melbourne - America's Williams sisters can write another
chapter in their eventful family history as they attempt to set up their ninth
Grand Slam final, eight years after the last, at the Australian Open on Thursday.
In a plot straight from the 2000s, both sisters have raced
into the Melbourne semi-finals without a dropping a set, and they appear
equally focused on getting their hands on the title.
At least one American is guaranteed to be in Saturday's decider,
with Venus confronting confident compatriot Coco Vandeweghe in their last-four
clash on Rod Laver Arena.
Following them on court will be Serena against fellow former
teenage prodigy Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, who is into her first Grand Slam
semi-final in 18 years.
It has become a tournament of the golden oldies, with Venus
36, Serena 35 and Lucic-Baroni 34. Vandeweghe at 25 is the young pretender.
Serena said it was a testament to the Williams' staying
power that they were still fighting for titles at their age.
"I've been doing this for many years. The past few
years I've been super-consistent," she said. "But yeah, I'm just
really happy for Venus, obviously. She's doing amazing.
"I'm really happy for Mirjana, as well. I was there
when she first started. To see her be able to never give up actually is
super-inspiring to me. It's a wonderful story."
Few would have picked a Serena-Venus final as the tournament
got underway, but it is now a 50-50 chance.
They last met in a major decider at Wimbledon in 2009, which
The younger Williams has the clear edge, winning six of
their eight Grand Slam final encounters stretching back to the US Open in 2001.
Venus said she was not interested in the past, only the
future and the immediate threat posed by the aggressive Vandeweghe.
"Anything that's happened before is just so. I'm ready
for the future, if I can be honest," she said.
"I have a lot to give. I have a lot to give to the game.
I feel like I have a lot of great tennis in me. I have nothing to lose,
Vandeweghe is a major threat to an all-Williams final.
She demolished French Open champion Garbine Muguruza in a
blitz of big hitting to make her first Australian semi, and she is supremely
confident to boot.
"It's amazing to be in a semi-final. But, you know, not
satisfying," said Vandeweghe, who also stunned world number one Angelique
Kerber in round four.
"I want to keep going, keep playing. There's more
things to do out on a tennis court that I'm hoping to achieve."
Brave Lucic-Baroni will have crowd support in her showdown
with Serena after upsetting fifth seed Karolina Pliskova to make her first Slam
last four since Wimbledon in 1999.
The unseeded Croat was among a crop of teen talents emerging
at the same time as the Williams sisters in the 1990s, along with Martina
Hingis and Anna Kournikova.
But an abusive father, money issues and injuries derailed
She is happy to have got this far, and ready to put her
aching body through another test against Williams.
"Serena is our greatest champion, for sure, the
greatest tennis player that ever played the game. So it's going to be
incredibly tough," Lucic-Baroni said.
"I'm just going to do my thing like I've done before,
every other match. I'm going to go out there with my heart and do the best that