Venus Williams and Serena Williams played some stunning tennis in their respective semi-finals of the Australian Open on Thursday (January 26). Venus defeated Coco Vandeweghe 6-7 (3-7), 6-2, 6-3 while Serena trounced Mirjana Lucic-Baroni in straight sets, 6-2, 6-1 to set up the dream final between the two Williams sisters. Meanwhile, Leander Paes and Martina Hingis crashed out of the mixed doubles.
Serena, the second seed in the Australian Open, has always been a huge favourite, and the American came up with some stunning game against Mirjana, who looked helpless. Right from the first game, Serena was in cruise control, dominating the match with her powerful game.
When Serena is in such devastating form, there are very few players in the women's circuit who can match her. It was complete dominance from Serena in the first set, which saw the second seed make few errors while Mirjana had 14 unforced errors, all resulting from Serena's brilliance.
One thought that the Mirjana would give Serena a tougher fight in the second set, but it was not to be the case as the former world number one was in the zone. The American hardly gave any chance to Mirjana. Serena just lost one game in the second set.
Though Serena might have had it easy, Venus had to come from one set behind to reach the final, defeating Vandeweghe in three sets. Vandeweghe was seen as the black horse of the tournament after beating top players like Eugenie Bouchard, Angelique Kerber and Gabrine Muguruza to reach the semifinals. But Venus ended her incredible run with a chest-thumping victory in front of the packed Rod Laver Arena.
The first set witnessed both the players playing some solid tennis from all round the court. Vandeweghe was brilliant in her service and both players were going for the winners. As a result, there were a number of unforced errors with Venus hitting 17 and Vandeweghe 16.
Vandeweghe's winners helped her clinch the tight first set in a tie-breaker, 7-6 (7-3).
The story of the second set was quite different with Venus delivering the goods from the outset. She was immaculate with her service, which included eight aces. Besides that, there was a genuine improvement in her shot accuracy as well. The former world number one did not have any trouble in getting past Vandeweghe.
Venus carried her good form from the second set. There was an air of confidence in her play, while Vandeweghe made some mistakes with some silly unforced errors. Venus clinched the third set 6-3.
In the mixed doubles contest, Paes and Hingis could not repeat their good performances in the past. The Indo-Swiss pair was outplayed by the home favourite pair of Sam Groth and Samantha Stosur, who looked in sparkling form.
The Australian pair won the match in straight games, 6-3, 6-2. Now, Sania Mirza, who paired with Ivan Dodig for the competition, is the lone Indian presence in the Australian Open. They will face Groth-Stosur in the semifinals.