Russia’s Elena Vesnina, the last unseeded woman standing, has set up her dream Wimbledon semi-final with world No.1 and defending champion Serena Williams and knows she will have to take her chances, few as they may be.
The 29-year-old, winner of two majors in the doubles, eased past 19th seed Dominika Cibulkova 6-2 6-2 with an inspired display of power and accuracy to earn the chance to take on a player she, like every one else in the game, looks up to.
“That’s a dream semi-final. I think nothing can be better than playing against Serena in semi-final on Centre Court at Wimbledon. It’s special,” Vesnina said.
“I’m admiring her. I’m always watching. She’s number one in the world. She’s best player in the world. I respect both Serena and Venus. What they bring to the sport is just incredible.”
Elder sister Venus also reached the last four on Tuesday.
But Vesnina is determined not to just make up the numbers in what looks, on paper, like a lopsided contest against a woman who is zeroing in on her 22nd grand slam, which would equal the open-era record of German great Steffi Graf.
“I need to try to win this match … You have to stick to your game, you have to be solid, you have to enjoy yourself on the court,” said Vesnina, ranked 50th in the world.
She is hoping to draw on the experience of Germany’s Angelique Kerber, who stunned Williams at the Australian Open, also in her first grand slam final, breaking the American twice in the first set.
“I saw how Angelique was sticking to her game from the first till the last. She was not giving up,” she said.
“You have to use your chances against Serena. If she’s giving you that chances, you need to be there. If she’s serving aces all over the place, hitting winners, nothing you can do. You just have to stick and wait and be there, stick with her.”