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Williams sisters stay on course for final clash

SERENA Williams is back in the Wimbledon semifinals after beating Victoria Azarenka of Belarus 6-2, 6-3 yesterday.

Serena broke the eighth-seeded Azarenka for a 5-3 lead in the second set and then served out the match at love, converting her first match point with a forehand winner. She will next play No. 4 Elena Dementieva for a spot in the final, where she could once again come up against big sister Venus.

Venus Williams overpowered Agnieszka Radwanska 6-1, 6-2 yesterday.

Venus, seeking her third straight Wimbledon title, outhit the 14th-ranked Pole from all parts of the court and proved again that she is the dominant female player on grass. "Do I feel invincible?" Venus said. "I'd like to say yes, but I really do work at it," she said.

Venus had her left leg taped up again but showed no weakness at all as she ripped 29 winners - compared to six for Radwanska - in a match that lasted just 68 minutes on a sunbaked Court 1.

"I can't complain," Venus said. "I'm in the semifinals of Wimbledon, right where I want to be. I just need to take another step forward."

She will face top-ranked Dinara Safina, who overcame 15 double-faults and beat German teenager Sabine Lisicki 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-1 to reach the semifinals here for the first time. "I was Santa Claus on the court, serving so many double-faults," said Safina, who served three straight doubles in one game in the third set.

In the bottom half of the draw, No. 4 Elena Dementieva beat Italy's Francesca Schiavone 6-2, 6-2 to set up a semifinal encounter with two-time champion Serena Williams.

Venus Williams is trying to become the first woman since Steffi Graf in 1991-93 to win three Wimbledon titles in a row.

Only once in the last nine years has there been a Wimbledon women's final that didn't feature at least one of the Williams sisters. The sisters were the only two grand slam winners left in the women's field - Serena has 10 major titles and Venus seven.

"We are definitely the front-runners in tennis as far as being some of the best players out there," Venus said. "I just think that the style of game that Serena and I play, that particular style we play better than the other women."

The men's quarterfinals today will pit five-time champion Roger Federer against the towering Croat Ivo Karlovic; No. 3 Andy Murray vs Spanish wildcard Juan Carlos Ferrero; 2002 champion Lleyton Hewitt vs two-time finalist Andy Roddick; and No. 3 Novak Djokovic vs Tommy Haas.


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