Venus Williams rolled back the years with a brutal baseline display to down Yaroslava Shvedova for her first Wimbledon semifinal appearance since 2009.
Williams, 36, saw off the 96th seed from Kazakhstan 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 to become the oldest Grand Slam semi-finalist for 22 years since Martina Navratilova finished runner-up at Wimbledon in 1994.
“I love playing the game,” Williams told BBC Sport. “When you’re winning matches it makes it that much sweeter.”
“What a tough day on the court,” she added. “The tie-breaker, it felt like she would win. I felt like my opponent was on fire.
“I felt like the crowd enjoyed all the great points. She got them involved in the last game. We gave them good tennis today.”
There was little to choose between the two as they slugged it out in the first set, but Shvedova’s challenge crumbled after she narrowly lost a tiebreak she had led 5-2.
The unseeded Shvedova was undone by a string of errors in the second set while the experienced Williams – sensing her opportunity – found her range and unfurled a succession of winners off both flanks.
It is a first Grand Slam semifinal appearance for the five-time Wimbledon champion since the 2010 U.S. Open, and she next faces Germany’s fourth-seeded Angelique Kerber.
Her sister, Serena Williams, plays Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova later on Tuesday with Slovakian 19th seed Dominika Cibulkova and unseeded Russian Elena Vesnina completing the quarter-final line-up.
Update: Serena Williams has since breezed into the Wimbledon semifinal knocking off Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.