Venus, Serena will meet again

Williams' sisters to play for Wimbledon title

Associated Press

WIMBLEDON, England -- Venus Williams winced with each serve and doubled over to clutch her side after stretching for shots.

She was in so much pain, she barely could lift her racket bag after the match.

Simply refusing to succumb to a strained muscle or Kim Clijsters' persistent strokes, Williams erased a big deficit and won 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 Thursday to set up a second straight Wimbledon final against her sister Serena, the defending champion.


In the first semifinal, Serena turned a rematch against French Open champion Justine Henin-Hardenne into a mismatch, winning 6-3, 6-2. Henin-Hardenne snapped Serena's 33-match Grand Slam winning streak a month ago in the semifinals at Paris.

Venus' fourth-round loss at Roland Garros marked her earliest exit from a major in two years, and the abdominal strain that hampered her there flared up during the third game against Clijsters.

The 2000-01 Wimbledon champion took a medical timeout and was seen a second time by the trainer. Then came an hour rain delay after the first set.

"The rain saved me," Venus said. "I couldn't calm myself down. I was just so worried about the injury. Serena came in and talked to me. I went out and talked to my mom and my other sisters.''

She also got more help from the trainer, including a tight wrap on her midsection. Gasping for air and leaning on her racket like a cane between points, Venus twice fell behind by a break in the second set. But she broke back both times, kept whipping winners, and somehow reeled off 10 of the last 11 games to cap a dramatic victory.

The start of play was held up 21⁄2; hours on a day of big matches at the All England Club, and fans eventually saw action from all four men's quarterfinals.

In matches postponed by showers Wednesday, No. 5 Andy Roddick overwhelmed Jonas Bjorkman 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 to reach his second major semifinal of 2003, and No. 4 Roger Federer beat No. 8 Sjeng Schalken 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.

Both quarterfinals on the other side of the draw were suspended in progress Wednesday. When they resumed Thursday, No. 10 Tim Henman's bid to give Britain its first title in 67 years ended against No. 13 Sebastien Grosjean 7-6 (8),3-6, 6-3, 6-4. Grosjean next gets unseeded Mark Philippoussis, who followed up his upset of Andre Agassi by using 34 aces to pull out a 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 8-6 win over Alexander Popp.


None of the four remaining men owns a Grand Slam title, and all will be playing in the Wimbledon semifinals for the first time when they step on the court today.

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