MELBOURNE, Australia — Venus Williams has reached her 21st Grand Slam semifinal, her first at the Australian Open in 14 years.
CoCo Vandeweghe advanced to her first major semifinal, anywhere, beating Grand Slam winners in back-to-back rounds. The one sure outcome will be an American in the final at Melbourne Park.
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.
Vandeweghe dictated play against French Open champion Garbine Muguruza in a 6-4, 6-0 quarterfinal win.
The No. 35-ranked Vandeweghe upset top-ranked Angelique Kerber, who won the Australian and U.S. titles last year, in the fourth round. She followed it up with another commanding win.
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 said the quarterfinal results were a "great win for the U.S."
"I'm sure she's going to want to be in her first final," Williams said. "I'm going to want to be in only my second final here. So it's going to be a well-contested match."
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.
With Serena Williams in the quarterfinals and targeting a record 23rd major, there's the prospect of another all-Williams final in Australia.
Venus Williams isn't thinking beyond herself, and is hoping to win an eighth major title.
"I try to believe," she said. "I'd like to be a champion, in particular this year. The mentality I walk on court with is: 'I deserve this'."