Schuettler shines, Williams sisters reach final in Wimbledon

July 4th, 2008 - 3:43 am ICT by IANS  

DPA
London, July 4 (DPA) The Williams sisters lined up in a third Wimbledon final while veteran outsider Rainer Schuettler won a marathon to reach a semi-final against Rafael Nadal at the Wimbledon Championships Thursday. A day of sun and showers added up to more than two-and-a-half hours of rain interruptions on the grass.

It took 32-year-old Schuettler five hours and 12 minutes over two days and a pair of Thursday rain interruptions to complete a marathon victory over Arnaud Clement 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (8-6), 6-7 (7-9), 8-6, the third-longest in Wimbledon history.

Women’s four-time champion Venus Williams cleared the penultimate hurdle towards a possible return to the trophy as she defeated fifth seed Elena Dementieva 6-1, 7-6 (7-3).

Williams, who reached her seventh Wimbledon final in one hour, 41 minutes, improved her record at the event to 57-7.

She has not dropped a set while losing serve once per match over her first six contests.

In the early evening after the pair of weather halts, younger sister Serena, who won previous All England club finals with her sister in 2002 and 2003, fought off a second-set challenge to oust Chinese wild card Zheng Jie 6-1, 7-6 (7-5).

“She pushed me unbelievably,” said the American of her 133rd- ranked opponent, first from China to get this far at a Grand Slam. “She had nothing to lose - and she played like it.

Williams had to save a set point in the second set, claiming the 12th game with a pair of aces, on a day when her total hit 15.

The sixth seed then earned a 5-2 lead in the tiebreaker only to see Zheng catch up for 5-5. The seed put it out of reach on her first set point, clinching as the outsider handed over a double-fault.

“It’s just great to reach another Wimbledon final,” said Williams, who has stalled in the quarter-finals in the five years since she last won.

“I’m happy to be back in a Grand Slam final, I love it.

Williams said she “didn’t want to go three sets. “I was ready to, but I wanted to close it out. I managed with some big serves, including her final two aces in the decider.

Williams will be playing her sibling for the 16th time, holding an 8-7 mark and winning their last meeting in February’s Bangalore semi- finals.

“Venus is a tough opponent, the toughest I can play. I”m happy to get this farm I’m excited. I guess we will have to stop speaking now,” she joked in the run-up to the Saturday showdown.

On the men’s side, Schuettler and Clement - both former Australian Open finalists - had an up-and down pair of days before the German finally closed it out.

“It’s like a dream,” said the veteran. “I cannot believe it right now, it was such a tough match.

“He had match points, I served for the match, it was back and forth, The final rain break - what can you do? It was 6-all in the final set,I finally made it 8-6, it was a tough match.”

Schuettler, plagued by injury and illness in recent seasons, admitted that he entered Wimbledon low on confidence.

“I thought I’d have to win the first round and then play James Blake in the second. I had plans for this week already, but luckily I’ve had to change them.

Against Nadal, Schuettler will not get stressed. “He plays unbelievably, it doesn’t matter what surface. “I beat him a long time ago and he’s beaten me several time since. I will just go out to the court and try to have fun.”
DPA

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