x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Venus rises to the occasion to sink sad Safina

Venus Williams will play her sister Serena in Saturday's Wimbledon final after a crushing 6-1, 6-0 victory over top seed Dinara Safina of Russia.

LONDON // Rarely can a world No 1 have been made to look as ordinary as Dinara Safina was by the brilliant Venus Williams in the second women's semi-final last night - a match that contrasted sharply with the first one in terms of length and excitement. Venus, five times the champion here and looking confidently towards her sixth, needed only 51 minutes to give her moody Russian opponent a second nightmare in the space of four weeks, Safina having fallen apart in the final of the French Open against Svetlana Kuznetsova. Here she was even worse and was annihilated 6-1, 6-0 by a rampant Venus, who made only one unforced error to Safina's 16 and accepted with relish all of the five break points that came her way. Safina was so traumatised by her embarrassment that she failed to use the challenge system when a call against her looked to be erroneous. She knew her task was hopeless and wanted to get it over with as swiftly as possible. The ease of the victory did not stop Venus from going through her celebration routine. "I'm so excited," she gushed. "I'm now in my eighth final and it's a dream come true to have the chance to hold up the plate again." Venus, who has earned respect all over the world for her ambassadorial qualities, refused the opportunity to endorse her sister Serena's questioning of Safina's worthiness to be at the top of the rankings without a major title to her name. "She's [Safina] is so talented and has played so consistently during the last year," said Venus. "But I have so much experience of this court and that helped me today." Venus found it hard to prepare for her match, so exciting was Serena's victory beforehand. "It was hard to concentrate with all that drama going on. But the hardest part is yet to come because I'm playing Serena again."

wjohnson@thenational.ae