Venus Williams continued her astonishing late-career revival by felling Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4 7-6(3) on Tuesday 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’ 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.”
Following her run at Wimbledon, 13th seed Venus has now made the semi-finals at two of the last three grand slams.
She was 22 when she last made the semi-finals at Melbourne, during a run to the 2003 final where she was beaten by younger sister Serena, the current world number two, in three sets.
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.