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Wimbledon: Williams sisters roll into semis

Published July 2, 2008 1:53 am

Dad prepares for his customary exit in case daughters meet in final
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WIMBLEDON, England - Venus and Serena Williams are each one win away from their third all-sister Wimbledon final, and their father, Richard Williams, has already begun checking flight schedules back to West Palm Beach.

He said if both of his daughters win their respective semifinals on Thursday, he'll be on a plane Friday. He insists he won't turn on the television Saturday until the match is over and one of his girls is holding up the coveted silver platter - as one Williams sister or the other has done six of the past eight years (4 for Venus, 2 for Serena). They last played each other in the Wimbledon final in 2003, and Serena won.



''It's extremely hard for me to watch Venus and Serena play each other, especially in a final,'' said Richard Williams, relaxing on a patio at the All England Club after Venus and Serena scored straight-sets wins over their quarterfinal opponents. ''It's like watching your kids fight in the living room. As a parent, it hurts you, tears you apart inside. I don't want to see my two daughters slug it out. I don't want to see thousands of fans cheering for one or the other. I can't take it. It could give me a heart attack.''

The siblings have played each other 15 times, and their father said he has missed almost all of those matches. When he found out they were facing each other earlier this year in a semifinal in India, he got on a plane and bolted. He remembers getting up and leaving after two points in a Venus vs. Serena U.S. Open final.

''I'll never forget it because Hank Aaron was at that game, and he said to me: 'You're leaving?' And I said, 'I've got to.' ''

The sisters have been on a collision course to the final since the draw was announced and they showed up on opposite sides. The four biggest roadblocks cleared out of the way when the tournament's top four seeds lost - No. 1 Ana Ivanovic in the third round, No. 2 Jelena Jankovic in the fourth round, No. 3 Maria Sharapova in the second round, and No. 4 Svetlana Kuznetsova in the fourth round.

Both Williams sisters have been rolling through their draws. Neither has lost a set. Serena overpowered Polish teenager Agnieszka Radwanska on Tuesday, 6-4, 6-0. She served 11 aces and the second set was over in 19 minutes. She had already beaten Radwanska's younger sister, Ursula, in the second round so she shouldn't be expecting any dinner invitations to that family's home anytime soon.

''Just trying to peak at the right moments,'' Serena Williams said. ''Not too soon, not too late.'

Venus had to work harder against 31-year-old Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand, who had made the Wimbledon fourth round seven times before finally advancing to her first quarterfinal. The expressive Thai player had 10 break points, but converted only one. She had six chances to break Williams in the sixth game of the first set, but the stronger American pulled out serves of 125 mph and survived.

''Anytime I'm down breakpoint, or double break, my serve gets me out of it,'' Venus Williams said. ''I expect when times are tough to really get going. That's been the basis of my game for a long time.''

Tuesday's highlights

* No. 6 Serena Williams and No. 7 Venus Williams advanced to the semifinals, a win for each away from a Williams sisters final for the third time at Wimbledon.

* No. 5 Elena Dementieva, the highest remaining seed on the women's side, advanced after beating No. 21 Nadia Petrova.

* Top men's seed Roger Federer and No. 2 Rafael Nadal play in the quarterfinals today.

 

 

 

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