Five-times 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 while Spain's Garbine Muguruza reached her second final in the high-profile tournament in three years with a thumping 6-1 6-1 win over Slovakia's Magdalena Rybarikova on Thursday.
Victoria Azarenka, who until a fortnight ago had last played at Roland Garros in 2016, and now had her six-month-old son with her in London, so impressed on her way to the fourth round that she was suddenly in the conversation for the title.
Williams also stopped Konta's bid to become the first woman from Britain in 40 years to win the country's Grand Slam tournament.
"I have to ask Serena for some pointers". Venus visibly struggled to hit on the run, she remained rigid as she had to search a low ball bending down her knees, though she outpaced the Brit constantly and more easily than expected from the baseline. "It won't be a given but I'll give it my all", Williams said.
Williams' most recent Grand Slam singles trophy - her eighth - came in 2008, when she defeated her younger sister, Serena, at Wimbledon. "The last time she played Serena in the finals".
That was as good as it got for Konta, who was immediately broken in the next game. "Only one's going to win". The 10th-seeded American has five singles titles at Wimbledon and six doubles championships. She closed the match 6-2.
"I miss her so much", she said.
She explained: "If somebody tell me before the tournament I'm going to be in semi-final, I for sure take it. You tell me I'm going to lose 6-1, 6-1..." Two break points were saved and crowd bellowed only to very quickly groan in the classic way as Williams surged further ahead. There are lots of Williams on there but I'd like to put a Spanish name on there. "I try to produce whatever's needed at the time".
Williams erased the first break point with a backhand winner down the line and the second with a 106 mph second serve that went right at Konta's body.
But this was a step too far. That opened a run in which Williams won 12 of 13 points.
"I thought the crowd was so fair and I know that they love Jo and she gave it her all and it's a lot of pressure". I tried to climb on top each time to win another point and wow it was done. "Even more yesterday and today".
"She did what she does well", Konta said.
"So she definitely came into the match with a lot more experience than I did".
Venus has beaten Muguruza in three of their four meetings to date but will be wary of the world number 15 after the 23-year-old knocked her out of the Italian Open in May.
"Obviously was not my best day". "But she didn't give me much chance to do something". She is a sight to see as she goes about defeating her better-known opponents on the court.
"I've been a part of some great moments and exciting moments in other events as well".
Muguruza certainly shouldn't be discounted, even if Williams might be relieved not to be confronting her sibling, who is pregnant and off the tour. Can you imagine I had lost 8-6 in the third?
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