Venus Williams remains on course for a Wimbledon final against sister Serena after she advanced to the last four thanks to a 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 win over Yaroslava Shvedova.
The 36-year-old veteran’s last semi-final at the All England Club came in 2009, a year which saw her go on to lose the final against her younger sibling for the third time.
After a barren spell between 2011 and 2014, the elder Williams has shown glimpses of her old form over the past 12 months, and that was evident again during Tuesday’s meeting with Shvedova on No.1 Court.
The unseeded Kazakh, ranked 96th in the world, came into the contest as the clear underdog but she troubled Williams in the opening set before falling away in the second.
Williams – now the oldest grand-slam semi-finalist since Martina Navratilova at Wimbledon 1994 – must overcome Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber in the last four if she is to have any chance of another family reunion in the final on Centre Court.
Both players’ serves came under extreme pressure in the opening games, but it was Williams who was the first to crack.
A delicate Shvedova forehand set up the opportunity before Williams’ netted backhand gave the Kazakh a 3-2 lead, but she could not consolidate as the eighth seed hit back immediately.
Williams then appeared to find her groove with a hold to love, but a set point went begging in the next game as her opponent produced two searing winners to keep it on serve.
Shvedova looked in a strong position at 5-2 up in the tie-break, but a series of unforced errors saw Williams win five points in succession to move one set to the good.
Neither player proved capable of holding at the start of the second as Williams took a 2-1 lead, consolidated with a service game to love, and better was to come as two stunning backhands put her a double break up.
One match point went to waste, but she was not to be denied on the second as Shvedova found the net, with the watching Williams clan swiftly departing to Centre to watch Serena in action.
Williams  bt Shvedova 7-6 (7-5) 6-2
Williams – 15/12
Shvedova – 26/33
Williams – 3
Shvedova – 3
BREAK POINTS WON
Williams – 4/12
Shvedova – 2/6
FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Williams – 74
Shvedova – 61
PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Williams – 71/56
Shvedova – 61/45
Williams – 84
Shvedova – 69
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