Venus Williams drew on the experience of 73 grand slam campaigns to rally from a set down for a 6-7(3) 6-2 6-3 victory over fellow American Coco Vandeweghe on Thursday to set up an Australian Open final against her younger sister and No 2 in the world Serena.
The 36-year-old sealed the win when Vandeweghe went long after 146 minutes on Rod Laver Arena to reach her second Melbourne Park final, 14 years after she lost her first to Serena in 2003.Her win makes her oldest female tennis player in history to reach and advance the semi-finals in the tournament.
Venus danced around the court in breathless delight and gave the crowd an elaborate version of her traditional victory twirl, having ensured she would become the oldest Australian Open women’s finalist in the professional era. The victory also gave her the first Grand Slam final in eight years.
“Oh my gosh, it means so much, mostly because she played so well,” said the 13th seed, who hit 11 aces and 30 winners.
“She played so unbelievable and I had to play defence the whole time it felt like.”
Six-times champion Serena Williams was already one set ahead of Croatian Mirjana Lucic-Baroni in the second semi-final later on Thursday, looking to set up a ninth grand slam final between the American sisters.
“It’s an unbelievable thing to watch Serena Williams play tennis, I have to say,” Venus added. “I’d love more than anything to see her across the net from me on Saturday.”