Williams sisters, Federer advance to Australian Open finals

January 27, 2017
United States' Serena Williams makes a forehand return Croatia's Mirjana Lucic-Baroni during their semi-final at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, yesterday. (AP Photo)
American' Venus Williams
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MELBOURNE (AP):

Win or lose, Serena Williams sees another all-sister final at the Australian Open as cause for celebration.

The 35-year-old Williams arrived in Australia bidding for a 23rd Grand Slam title, aiming to break the Open-era record she shares with Steffi Graf. By winning, she'd also regain the number one ranking she lost after her US Open semifinal exit.

She doesn't enjoy the suspense, or talk about the number. Her older sister, Venus, knows that better than anyone after their two decades of competing together in the majors.

Now the 36-year-old Venus is the potential roadblock, back in a major final for the first time since she lost the previous all-Williams Grand Slam final at Wimbledon in 2009.

"I just feel like no matter what happens, we've won," Serena said. "A Williams is going to win this tournament."

Venus hasn't added to her seven major titles since Wimbledon in 2008, but is in her best form since being diagnosed with energy-sapping Sjogren's syndrome in 2011.

 

Stylish pirouette

 

In fact, she was the first Williams into the 2017 final, rallying to beat 25-year-old CoCo Vandeweghe - the only player in the women's semifinals who was younger than 34 - 6-7 (3), 6-2, 6-3.

A jubilant Venus could barely contain her emotions after clinching a spot in the final on her fourth match point, putting her hands to her face, her jaw dropping, before she crossed her arms over her heart and did a stylish pirouette.

Feeling like "it was in my hands to force this Williams final" in the subsequent match, six-time Australian Open champion Serena overwhelmed 34-year-old Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 6-2, 6-1.

By the time Roger Federer beat fourth-seeded Stan Wawrinka 7-5, 6-3, 1-6, 4-6, 6-3 in an all-Swiss night match to became the oldest man to reach a Grand Slam final since Ken Rosewall made the 1974 US Open final at 39, they were calling it Throwback Thursday at Melbourne Park.

Three players who can combine for 46 Grand Slam titles and 106 years in age advanced to the a final one after the other.

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