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Tennis

Serena survives Dementieva; will meet sister Venus in final

Venus and Serena Williams are bringing their history-making sister act to Centre Court for the fourth time in eight years.

The decorated sisters of Wimbledon's first family -- who have combined to win seven of the past nine championships at the All England Club -- ensured yet another all-Williams final with a pair of victories in Thursday's ladies' semifinals.

Third-seeded Venus coasted to a 6-1, 6-0 rout of top seed Dinara Safina, while second-seeded Serena gutted out an emotional 6-7 (4), 7-5, 8-6 win against fourth-seeded Elena Dementieva.

"The hardest part is next to come," Venus told reporters, "to play Serena Williams."

Venus, the two-time defending champion, needed just 51 minutes to dispense of the top-ranked Safina, while Serena needed two hours and 49 minutes to secure her eighth straight victory in a major semifinal dating back to the 2003 French Open.

"Elena played so well, and we gave the crowd a wonderful match," Serena said. "It was really, really tough."

Trailing 5-4 in the third set, Serena saved match point with a backhand volley. Later, Serena broke Dementieva to take a 7-6 advantage and held serve to advance to Saturday's final.

The sisters have met in the final at the All England Club three previous times. Serena won in 2002 and '03, while Venus won in '08.

They've met 20 times in competitive matches, with each sister winning 10 times. But Serena holds a 6-5 advantage in Grand Slam meetings, including five wins in their seven clashes in finals.

Venus is attempting to become the first woman to win three straight Wimbledon singles titles since Steffi Graf from 1991 through '93.

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