Venus into Wimbledon final, ends Konta’s run

Published by Matt Trollope

Venus Williams advanced to her ninth Wimbledon final after a straight-sets win over Johanna Konta in the semifinals; Getty Images
Venus Williams has returned to the Wimbledon final for the first time in eight years after bringing Johanna Konta back to earth in a semifinal masterclass.

Venus Williams has harkened back to her halcyon days at Wimbledon with a commanding performance to reach the Wimbledon final.

The 37-year-old dominated British favourite Johanna Konta 6-4 6-2 to advance to her ninth decider at the All England Club- yet first since 2009.

She becomes the oldest Wimbledon finalist since the great Martina Navratilova in 1994.

“I’ve played a lot of finals here, it’s been a blessing. I couldn’t have asked for more but I’ll ask for one more,” Venus smiled when chatting to the BBC after coming off court.

“One more win would be amazing. It’s not a given but I’m gonna give it my all.

“I thought the crowd was very nice to me … they could have been even more boisterous. I though Jo handled the pressure well and I think my experience helped a lot.

“She played so well. No point was easy. I just tried to climb on top each time to get another point.”

The five-time champion will meet the equally-impressive Garbine Muguruza in the title match after the Spaniard eviscerated surprise semifinalist Magdalena Rybarikova earlier on Friday for the loss of just two games.

RELATED: marvellous Muguruza into Wimbledon final

“We both play really well on grass,” Williams said. “The last time she played Serena (in the 2015 Wimbledon final) so I’ll have to ask Serena for some pointers.”

Konta had won three of her five career meetings with Williams but they’d never before met on grass – Venus’s domain.

Trailing 15-40 in the ninth game of the first set, Williams went up a gear, launching a second serve at 171kmh to force a return error and level at deuce.

Eventually holding serve for a 5-4 lead, Williams took the first set after a sloppy Konta game littered with four unforced errors.

From here, Venus never looked back.

Moving exceptionally, hitting cleanly and playing intelligently, the American picked apart Konta’s game from the back of the court.

Konta’s heavy, relentless ball-striking, coupled with her dominant serving, had been the catalyst for her producing her best ever showing at the All England Club and equalling her best Grand Slam result – at Australian Open 2016 she also reached the last four.

But Williams had no trouble handling Konta’s shots in forehand-to-forehand exchanges and treated the Brit’s serve with disdain, adopting an aggressive return position – well inside the baseline on second serves – to consistently take charge of points.

She broke serve in the fourth game for a 3-1 lead, and with Konta pressing and racking up the unforced – forced? – errors, Williams was soon ahead 5-2.

Two match points came and went before Williams sealed victory on her third with a forehand passing shot winner down the line.

Venus, who’s last Grand Slam title came nine years ago right here in 2008, will shoot for her sixth Wimbledon trophy in 20 appearances at SW19.

This is her second major final of the season after reaching the Australian Open decider in January.

“This year has been amazing in terms of my play, playing deep into the big events actually. Of course, I’m excited about being again in another final. Try to take it a step further,” Williams said.

“I feel very focused still. There’s still a lot to be done. I have one more match that I’d like to be the winner of. I have to go out there and take it and play well.

“But I like to take courage in the fact that I’ve been playing well this tournament and this year, and all these moments have led to this.”

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