WUHAN, China (AP) Venus Williams did what her sister Serena couldn't do, beating Roberta Vinci on Friday after saving a match point in the semifinals of the Wuhan Open.
The unseeded Williams won 5-7, 6-2, 7-6 (4) after Vinci came from 4-1 down in the final set but failed to serve out the match when leading 6-5, 40-30.
''Roberta played so well today - she had match point - so it was lucky for me to win this match,'' Williams said.
The No.15-seeded Italian sliced a backhand into the net on her match point and Williams pounced, hitting a pair of huge groundstrokes in the next two points to break back.
Williams ripped a forehand volley to go up 6-4 in the tiebreaker and clinched the victory when Vinci missed a forehand wide.
Before Friday's match, Williams, who earned her 700th career victory to reach the quarterfinals, had never dropped a set against the Italian veteran - who ended little sister Serena's chances of a calendar-year Grand Slam in the U.S. Open semifinals.
''Definitely watching the match at the U.S. Open, I learned a lot from Serena,'' Williams said. ''If I could, I'd give my win to Serena at the U.S. Open - unfortunately it doesn't work like that.''
The former top-ranked American will face either fifth-seeded Garbine Muguruza or Angelique Kerber in her 77th career final on Saturday.