MELBOURNE, Australia — Venus Williams has reached the semifinals of a Grand Slam for the 21st time and will play CoCo Vandeweghe for a spot in the Australian Open final.
The 36-year-old Williams beat No. 24-seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4, 7-6 (3) on Tuesday, becoming the oldest player to reach the Australian Open women's semifinals in the Open era.
Her 50th career win at Melbourne Park earned her a spot in the last four for the first time in 14 years.
Vandeweghe advanced to a will be playing her first major semifinal, using a powerful forehand to dictate play against French Open champion Garbine Muguruza in a 6-4, 6-0 win.
She has beaten Grand Slam champions in back-to-back matches at Melbourne Park after her upset over top-ranked Angelique Kerber, who won the Australian and U.S. titles last year.
Vandeweghe saved the only break point she faced in the first set with an ace, and only conceded 10 points in the 28-minute second set. She had 31 winners, including 14 on her powerful forehand side.
"Once I got rolling in the second, it was like a freight train, you couldn't stop it," she said.
Williams has advanced through the tournament without dropping a set, and isn't ready to stop there.
"It's wonderful to start the year out with this appearance," said Williams, who hadn't reached the semifinals in Australia since 2003, the year she lost the final to her sister, Serena. "I want to go further. I'm not happy just with this. But I'm so happy to be in the position to like go further."
Williams dropped four service games against Pavlyuchenkova, but she responded each time by breaking back. In the tiebreaker, she trailed 3-1 before winning the last six points — clinching the match on Pavlyuchenkova's double-fault.
It earned her a spot in the semifinals for the second time in three majors — after a six-year absence from the last four.
With her run to the Wimbledon semifinals last year, Williams became the oldest woman since Martina Navratilova in 1994 to advance so far at a major. Navratilova was 37, years 258 days at the end of Wimbledon that year.
The record belongs to Billie Jean King, who was 39 years, 223 days when she reached the Wimbledon semifinals in 1983.