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Venus marches on to reach the last four

Venus Williams continued her astonishing late-career revival by felling Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4 7-6 yesterday to reach her first Australian Open semi-final in 14 years and become the oldest woman to reach the last four at Melbourne Park in the professional era.

The quarter-final will hardly be remembered as a classic, with both Venus and the 24th-ranked Russian surrendering serve with alarming regularity despite perfect conditions for tennis at Rod Laver Arena.

In the end it was 36-year-old Venus’s experience that proved decisive when the pressure rose, and Pavlyuchenkova crumbled with a double-fault on match point to boost the American’s hopes of a maiden title at Melbourne Park.

“Oh my gosh I’m so excited,” said the seven-times grand slam champion after closing out the one hour and 48-minute tussle.

“I want to go further. I’m not happy just with this. I’m just so excited that I have another opportunity to play again.”

Venus will play an all-American semi-final against Coco Vandeweghe, who thrashed former French Open champion Garbine Muguruza 6-4 6-0 in the following quarter-final at Rod Laver Arena.

The mouth-watering prospect of a repeat of the 2003 final against Serena beckons if the second seed can get there as well.

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