Venus crushes Polish challenge to set up date with Safina – Update

London, June 30: Five-time winner Venus Williams marched into the semi-finals of the Wimbledon Championships Tuesday without the loss of a set so far, pounding out a 6-1 6-2 defeat of 11th seed Agnieszka Radwanska. The American winner will face top-seeded world number one Dinara Safina, who overcame 15 double-faults to finally beat upcoming German challenger Sabine Lisicki 6-7 (5-7), 6-4, 6-1.

Fourth seed Eena Dementieva joined her fellow Russian in the last four as she put out Italy’s Francesca Schiavone 6-2, 6-2.

Safina was likely headed to the practice court to work out the kinks in her serve. “The serve is there, but you have to put the brain also,” said the winner of 42 matches this season and a first- time semi-finalist at the event.

“Until now it’s been working. It won’t be easy against Venus, but I have nothing to lose. I want to go out and show my best tennis.”

Safina handed over the opening set to the 19-year-old Lisicki on a double-fault and had to recover from a break down in the second to start slowly turning the tables.

But after levelling, the third set began with three straight breaks of serve before Safina gained control to take the win in just under two and a half hours, with Lisicki treated late in the contest for a calf problem.

“I’m happy to get into the semi-finals,” said the winner. “In the first I had chances I didn’t take and she let the second go.

“I had to hang tough mentally, that was the key today. I was like Santa Claus with my serve on court. I have to fix that.”

The third-seeded Williams needed little more than an hour on court in the sun on a day when British “heatwave” conditions were forecast to touch 33 degrees Celsius to peg back Radwanska.

“That first set for me was really almost perfect,” said the American. “The second set, I think I got a little bit impatient the first couple of games, but I was able to mentally bring it back and realised that maybe I did have to hit a few more balls, because everyone lifts their game.”

Williams will be playing in her eighth semi-final at the All England club over the past decade as she won her 19th match in a row at the venue. She has claimed 32 consecutive Wimbledon sets since the 2007 third round.

“I’m in the semi-finals, it’s right where I want to be and I’m looking to take it a step further,” said the dominating American.

Williams continues to play with her left knee heavily strapped, but the problem is not apparently affecting her mobility.

Radwanska was playing in her third Grand Slam quarter-final after first achieving the level in Australia in 2008 and last year at the All England club.

Williams broke five times on her way to victory.