December 15, 2017

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Venus becomes oldest woman to reach Aussie SF

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7:41 AM ET

Greg GarberSenior Writer

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Greg Garber joined ESPN in 1991 and provides reports for NFL Countdown and SportsCenter. He is also a regular contributor to Outside the Lines and a senior writer for ESPN.com.

MELBOURNE, Australia — Amid all of the back-to-the-future, glory-days-revisited hysteria down here, the greatest revelation has been Venus Ebony Starr Williams.

The last time she made the semifinals of the Australian Open was 2003 — the same year Roger Federer won his first Grand Slam; the same year Australian wild card Destanee Aiava turned 3 years old.

On an exceedingly pleasant Tuesday at Melbourne Park, Williams defeated Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4, 7-6 (3) — and, 14 years later, soared back into the semifinals.

Her victory produced yet another slice of history:

Williams, at 36, is the oldest woman to reach the final four here in the Open era.

Venus Williams hadn’t reached the semifinals in Australia since 2003, the year she lost the final to her sister Serena. Pilip Singer/EPA

“Oh my gosh, I’m so excited,” Venus said in her on-court interview, her voice rising. “I want to go further. I’m so happy to be in a position to go further.”

The return for Venus to the Australian Open semis will be in the form of an all-American showdown against Coco Vandeweghe.

Vandeweghe beat French Open champion Garbine Muguruza 6-4, 6-0 to reach the first Grand Slam semifinal of her career.

“What a wonderful result,” said Venus in her postmatch interview. “It’s a great win for the U.S. To have that thought that there’s going to be at least one U.S. player in the final is great for American tennis.

“I’m sure she’s going to want to be in her first final. I’m going to want to be in only my second final here. So it’s going to be a well-contested match.”

Coco Vandeweghe isn’t afraid to call it like she sees it. And what she’s seeing now is a player who is more than capable of winning the Australian Open.

Serena and Venus Williams will play in the quarterfinals of the Aussie Open, so they’re getting asked about the incredible success they’ve achieved in their mid-30s. Serena might have the answer.

Serena Williams hasn’t lost a set yet, but her next opponent, No. 9 Johanna Konta, has been the hottest player on tour. Here’s how

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