IN PICS: Williams sisters join top-10 oldest Grand Slam finalists

Sport360 staff 26/01/2017

Unstoppable Serena Williams zeroed in on a record-breaking 23rd Grand Slam title Thursday by setting up an Australian Open final against her older sister Venus, as the siblings' dream came true.

The ruthless world number two proved one step too far for unseeded Croat Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, whose fairytale tournament was finally ended in a crushing 6-2, 6-1 defeat in just 50 minutes.

In swatting aside the 34-year-old, in their first meeting since 1998, Serena, 35, stayed on track for a seventh Australian title which would take her past Steffi Graf's Open-era record of 22 major wins.

Only Venus stands in the way after the elder Williams rolled back the years to beat fellow American Coco Vandeweghe 6-7 (3/7), 6-2, 6-3 in the other semi-final.

It opened another chapter in their eventful family history as they meet for their ninth Grand Slam final on Saturday, eight years after the last at Wimbledon in 2009. Serena won that one and holds a 6-2 advantage.

Not only that, it launched Venus to sixth on the all-time list of the oldest Grand Slam finalists in history, aged 36 years, seven months and nine days on the day of her semi-final victory.

Serena's victory also saw her enter the top-ten of eldest Slam finalists at exactly 35 years and 4 months old.

As you can see here, they are the second and third oldest female finalists at Slams, while the majority of this Open Era list is dominated by Ken Rosewall who features no less than six times.

All stats in this piece were supplied by Sport360's tennis statistician, Shyam Sundar.

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Wawrinka and Federer lay out their battle plans

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Stan Wawrinka knows what he has to do to win.

Roger Federer knows he is going to be dangerous.

Both will draw clear battle lines when they meet in the Melbourne final this weekend, as you can see in this video.

Who will win this all-Swiss semi-final at the Australian Open 2017?
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WATCH: Williams reacts after beating Konta

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The American joined sister Venus in the last four after stepping up a level to oust the dangerous Briton 6-2, 6-3 on Rod Laver Arena and end her nine-match winning streak.

Her battling victory keeps intact a potential all-Williams final, with Venus needing to get past fellow American Coco Vandeweghe in the other semi-final to set-up the nostalgic showdown.

But first Serena must beat former teenage prodigy Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, who upset fifth seed Karolina Pliskova to continue her heart-warming comeback after her career was derailed by personal issues.

"She played so well, she's definitely a future champion here for sure," Williams said of ninth-seeded Konta. "I'm really happy to get through that.
"I got a little frustrated, but I told myself, stop complaining. Don't be 'Baby-rena'. I admit I complain a lot. That's my thing. I try to just have fun, and try to enjoy the moment out here."



The victory over Konta, who had been in impeccable touch heading into the match, marked an incredible 10th successive Grand Slam semi-final for Williams, and her 34th overall, reinforcing the 35-year-old's remarkable consistency.

She has refused to talk about the possibility of finally surpassing Steffi Graf to win a 23rd Grand Slam and take sole ownership of the Open-era record.

But Williams now has a real chance of doing so to further cement her place as perhaps the greatest player of all time.

If she achieves the goal of winning a seventh Australian Open, it will also propel her back to world number one, after Angelique Kerber snatched the accolade from her last year.




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