Wimbledon – Serena sets all-Williams final
Serena Williams will face big sister Venus for the third time in a Wimbledon final after ending wildcard Zheng Jie‘s hopes of becoming the first Chinese player to reach a Grand Slam final on Thursday.
Serena, who beat Venus in the 2002 and 2003 finals, had to dig deep to beat a battling Zheng 6-2, 7-6 (7/5) and will seek a ninth Grand Slam title when she faces her 28-year-old sister who in turn will be chasing a fifth victory here.
The 26-year-old Serena, 11 kilos heavier and more than 11cm taller than the Chinese, had too much brawn for the world 133, who had made her mark by knocking out top seed Ana Ivanovic in the third round.
“She pushed me and really played a great match,” said Serena of an opponent she had comfortably defeated in the first round here four years ago.
Zheng was left to regret a great opportunity to take the semi-final to a decider when she held set point in the 10th game of the second set but Williams was able to call on her powerful smash to rescue herself.
“She played like she had nothing to lose. I was able to hit a smash on that set point. I didn’t really want to go into a third set,” added the American sixth seed.
“I’m looking forward to playing Venus in the final. She’ll be the toughest opponent I have faced.”
Defending champion Venus had earlier beaten Russian fifth seed Elena Dementieva 6-1, 7-6 (7/3) to reach her seventh singles final.
Serena broke the 24-year-old Zheng in the first and fifth games of the opening set as the American stormed into a 5-2 lead before a 40-minute rain break gave the Chinese time to compose herself.
But it was business as usual on the resumption as Williams served another love game to wrap up the set.
Zheng gave herself a glimmer of hope by breaking Williams to lead 4-2 in the second set, but the American stormed back in the next game and then held to level the set at 4-4.
Another rain delay, this time for 80 minutes, followed at 5-5 and when the players returned Zheng had a set point in the 12th game which Williams saved.
Williams raced to 5-2 ahead in the tiebreak before a gallant Zheng pulled level to 5-5.
But the Chinese girl’s nerve deserted her when she double-faulted on match point.