Wimbledon – Venus romps into all-Williams final
The five-times Wimbledon champion was in imperious form and brushed aside the first seeded Russian with an air of disdain.
It was another sweltering day in SW19, with temperatures reaching 32 degrees on a dry and sunny afternoon, but Williams barely broke sweat in thrashing her opponent in just 51 minutes.
Williams began the match with a serve of 112mph, and followed it with the fastest delivery of the tournament at 124mph to consolidate her early break in the second game.
Safina knew that she must dramatically improve her serve against the number three seed if she were to have any chance of making a first final appearance at Wimbledon.
But the Russian’s demise seemed inevitable as early as the opening game, when the 23-year-old was broken to love.
The American pounced on some indecision from Safina, who looked hesitant and nervy, to ruthlessly seize the initiative from the outset.
From there on Williams maintained her ascendency, and was unflinching in her attacking approach, as Safina grew ever more despondent at the other end.
In all, number three seed Williams broke her opponent’s serve five times as she bludgeoned first serves and big forehands to utterly confound the Russian.
After being broken comprehensively in the second and fourth games, Safina could only watch on helplessly as Williams hammered winner after winner to clinch the first set in just 26 minutes.
The solitary game which Safina mustered, at her third attempt to hold serve, was still a real struggle, with Williams lashing a forehand long with her opponent racked with self doubt at 40-30.
If the opening seven games were one-sided, the second set was an absolute thumping, with the American rattling through it without conceding a game.
Safina was broken in the opening game of the set, and her look of bemusement and sheer embarrassment at her coaches exemplified the manner of her capitulation.
The Centre Court crowd, who had been left in raptures after the excitement of the first semi-final, were left underwhelmed and subdued at the lack of a battle which unfolded.
Despite suffering the ignominy of this defeat, Safina will remain the world number one regardless of whether Venus or Serena Williams seals victory in the final on Saturday.
Dan Quarrell / Eurosport