Venus Williams defeats American CoCo Vandeweghe in three sets to advance to the 2017 Australian Open final.
Venus Williams is back in the final of a Grand Slam for the first time since Wimbledon in 2009. Seeded No. 13, Venus defeated fellow American CoCo Vandeweghe 6-7 (3), 6-2, 6-3 in two hours and 25 minutes in the semifinals on Thursday.
Just as she did in her victories over No. 1 Angelique Kerber and No. 7 Garbine Muguruza, Vandeweghe came out strong and imposed her powerful, big-hitting style on Venus from the start of the match. But the 36-year-old—playing in her 21st major semifinal, and second in three majors after reaching the Wimbledon semifinals last year—called on her experience on the Slam stage to stick in and claim the victory. With the win, Venus is back in the Australian Open final for the first time since 2003, when she lost to her sister Serena Williams in three sets.
"It means so much. Mostly because she played so well. I had to play defense the whole time," Venus said in her post-match interview on the court. "There was never a moment to relax. A match like this makes me so excited about American tennis as well."
Playing in her first Grand Slam semifinal Vandeweghe, 25, was bidding to become the first American not named Williams to make a Slam final since Lindsay Davenport at Wimbledon in 2005. Before Thursday's victory, Venus had not come back to win a match after losing the first set since 2015.
Venus will move into the final to face her sister and No. 2-seed Serena, after she cruised by Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 6-2, 6-1 in just 50 minutes to advance to her 29th Grand Slam final.
When asked about Saturday's final after the match, Venus said: "I would love more than anything to see Serena across the net from me on Saturday."