Tennis Freaks

“1821: Nadal, I’ve noticed, has a problem with his shorts, in that they keep on getting stuck up his jacksie and he has to pull them out before every point. Not sure why he doesn’t just get a size up, he’s probably loaded.”

Archive for venus williams

Venus v Sfar as it happened

Roland Garros, Paris, 25 May-8 June

French Open: Sunday 25 May to Sunday 8 June

French Open

Second-round result:

V WILLIAMS (US) bt S Sfar (Tun)

6-2 6-4

* denotes server

By Piers Newbery

Second set:

Venus 6-4 Sfar
Sfar gives the crowd something to cheer when she battles back from 0-40 and three match points down with a couple of thumping serves. Venus has no mercy on the third though, swiping a forehand into the corner to seal the win. Sfar’s search for a Grand Slam third-round place goes on…..

We’ll be back for Federer v Montanes at around 1330 BST, I would guess.

1143: Mansour Bahrami has his own website too, with the sub-heading “Tennis’ Greatest Entertainer”. Yes.

Venus 5-4 Sfar
Sfar has a smile to herself when she lobs Venus to get to 30-30 but the American holds and is one game from victory. A shot of the crowd shows Ilie Nastase having a chuckle with Mansour Bahrami. What hi-jinks are they planning, I wonder. If there were any bobbies in the area they would be in serious danger of a hat-stealing prank, that’s for sure.

Venus 4-4 Sfar
Sfar gets back on level terms when Venus misses with a backhand return and the Tunisian is still in this, just. Elsewhere, Jankovic is two games from victory against Erakovic, Nalbandian is two sets up against Chardy, and former junior girls’ world number one Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova is heading for defeat. Shame.

Venus 4-3 Sfar
Venus moves back in front with a straightforward hold but she walks towards her chair with a face like thunder. If I were her dog Harold, I’d be worried.

Venus 3-3 Sfar
This is getting a bit lively now. Venus earns three break points at 0-40 but the devilish Sfar sliced backhand gets her out of trouble on the first two, and a killer drop shot makes it deuce. A ding-dong exchange at the net goes Venus’s way but the American agonisingly misses a first break point when a pass flicks off the net and drifts wide. Sfar cannot hold out though and tamely dumps a backhand in the net on the second break point.

Venus 2-3 Sfar
An absolute shocker from Venus lets Sfar back into the match. Venus sends a backhand way long on break point and has just made a leisurely morning that bit more difficult for herself.

1115: I’ve just noticed that the recent junior girls’ world number one is in action on Court Three. I first encountered the Russian at Wimbledon last year and couldn’t help hoping that her career would fail to take off – really don’t fancy spending the next 10 years trying to get Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova into a headline. A-Pav leads Flavia Pennetta by a set.

Venus 2-2 Sfar
Having said Sfar has a decent serve, that is when she manages to get the toss right. Still, she overcomes a few dodgy ones to hold serve with a forehand pass that Venus cannot handle at the net.

Venus 2-1 Sfar
A brief alarm for Venus as she faces a break point but Sfar cannot repeat her early break of the first set.

Venus 1-1 Sfar
Well done Selima. Under severe pressure she gets off the mark from deuce. She’s got a decent serve and nifty sliced backhand, just drops too many balls short for Venus to thump away. Meanwhile, everybody’s favourite moody Argentine David Nalbandian has taken the first set against Jeremy Chardy.

Venus 1-0 Sfar
Venus kicks off the second set by holding from deuce after letting a 40-0 lead slip. Match of the day for me looks like being Nikolay Davydenko against fellow Russian Marat Safin. Judging from yesterday’s texts on 81111 , there’s quite an appetite out there for that one among a certain demographic. And I don’t think they want to marvel at Nikolay’s consistency from the baseline.

First set:

Venus 6-2 Sfar
Venus gets to 15-40 with a brutal backhand-return winner. Sfar saves the first with a big serve but Venus attacks the net on the second and Sfar misses with a pass. Plain sailing so far for Venus, as it is on Suzanne Lenglen where third seed Jelena Jankovic has just take the first set against Marina Erakovic.

Venus 5-2 Sfar
Four games in a row for Venus, who is really motoring around the court now, all arms, legs and winners. Some good news – Sfar has a website. Some bad news – it’s in French. If you paid more attention than me in GCSE French, feel free to access it from the link on the right-hand side of this page.

1040: The weather is good at the moment but showers are forecast I’m afraid. Weather permitting, later on we’ll be back with live updates on Roger Federer against Albert Montanes, with news on Rafael Nadal against Nicolas Devilder, who sounds like the kind of cad and bounder who would be played by Nigel Havers in a film.

Venus 4-2 Sfar
Sfar is giving it her all and it’s hard to believe she’s never been ranked higher than 76 in the world. Still, Venus has the edge, battling back to break with a couple of searing forehand winners.

Venus 3-2 Sfar
Another sticky game for Venus but she takes control from deuce, thumping down a smash at the end of one particularly vigorous rally. A reminder that she’s still the best athlete in the women’s game.

1028: A small window into Venus’s world from her blog, regarding her recent journey from Rome to Paris: “Harold, my dog, was with me, and he was so well behaved the whole flight! David and I had a great 2 hour practice on the red clay. Its nice being back on the red clay and grinding! Harold ran all over the court and his paws turned a light orange from the clay. I had to brush him off but it was so cute!”

Venus 2-2 Sfar
Venus smotes a backhand down the line to get to 15-40 and two break points and then attacks the net to punch away a backhand volley. A break back and really impressive game from the American.

Venus 1-2 Sfar
And Sfar breaks to love, who’d have thought? Venus punts a backhand volley long and looks determined to get as much practise in as possible ahead of the grass, meanwhile her opponent takes advantage. Sfar so good. Sorry.

Venus 1-1 Sfar
It’s been a pretty good start, must be the sunshine. Sfar can wallop down a big serve when she needs to while Venus is all action as usual. Tunisia’snumber one (and only ranked player)holds serve.

Venus 1-0 Sfar
Let’s be fair to Sfar, she won three matches in qualifying so she’s obviously got a bit of form. As for Venus, who knows? She’s hardly pulled up any trees so far this year and isn’t a great fan of clay but she’ll still be a big threat at Wimbledon next month. The American makes a bit of a scratchy start but takes the opener with several sorties to the net.

1010: Morning, we’re going to start off with a look at Venus Williams against Selima Sfar. That’s right, the Tunisian number one.

Sfar is ranked 241 in the world, not far off her 31st birthday, and attempting to reach the third round of a Grand Slam event for the first time. A tall order I’d say.

Story from BBC SPORT

Venus-Ivanovic as it happened

Australian Open, Melbourne

Women’s quarter-finals result:

V WILLIAMS (US) v A IVANOVIC (Ser)

6-7 (3-7) 4-6

By Chris Bevan

0400: Wow, I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did – another great match that could have gone either way. It was Ana Ivanovic who came through though, despite Venus William’s best efforts, and she will play Daniela Hantuchova in the semi-finals.

The other women’s last-four match sees Maria Sharapova play Jelena Jankovic, which shouldn’t be a bad one to watch either.

Venus 6-7 (3-7) 4-6 Ivanovic
It’s all over, but not without one helluva fight from Venus. Ana is up against it at 15-40 but two big serves get her out of a hole and she completes a thrilling victory when a Venus forehand flies a mile wide.

A shout of delight from Ana – and yet more fist-pumping, obviously – signal that she is into the semi-finals.

Venus 6-7 (3-7) 4-5 Ivanovic
Ana loves to celebrate a winner with a quick pump of the fist, possibly even more so than Lleyton Hewitt. She has good reason to here though, moving to break-point with a scintilating forehand down the line before Venus sends another volley into the net. Ana positively dances back to her seat and she will serve for the match, next.

Venus 6-7 (3-7) 4-4 Ivanovic
Another tight game for Ana but she responds well to the pressure and her first ace of the match comes at precisely the right time.

Venus 6-7 (3-7) 4-3 Ivanovic
Williams may be back to square-one in this second set but she is sticking with her aggressive approach. Ana is matching her shot for shot though, and puts away one super volley before snatching the next point with an outrageous passing shot. Venus is facing another break but keeps battling, gasping for breath, and holds. She needed that.

“Ivanovic is bit of an enigma – capable of sheer brilliance but also total madness!”
Justin, in Bury on text 81111

Venus 6-7 (3-7) 3-3 Ivanovic
A change of racquet for Venus – has her mini-revival bitten the dust? A thumping forehand winner into the corner suggests otherwise but Ana is chasing everything down and gives us a couple of fist pumps as she holds to move level.

“I totally agree with Ali! Cant revise with all this sport going on! Ivanovic for the title!”
Charles at Aberdeen Uni on text 81111

“If Ana can win tonight, will it be the four most attractive semi-finalists ever in a Slam? As if 24 hr live updates weren’t distracting enough!”
Anon on text 81111

Not sure about that, but what does everyone else think!?

Venus 6-7 (3-7) 3-2 Ivanovic
The Venus serve wobbles for the first time in this set, mainly thanks to some stinging cross-court forehands from Ana. A Venus backhand flies well long and this second set is back on serve.

“Good luck with revision Ali but I must disagree! This is Ana’s for the taking. She is powerful, mentally strong and, might I add, beautiful. Ahem.”
Chris, in Hampstead on text 81111

Venus 6-7 (3-7) 3-1 Ivanovic
A bit of a dip in form, this, for Ana – especially after the first set. She seems up for the battle though and a beautiful backhand down the line gets her back on track in this game and off the mark in this set.

“Venus is really firing at the moment. She has cranked up the pressure and is being a lot more aggressive, coming into the net and finishing off the point with some good volleying.”
BBC Sport’s Chris Bailey in Melbourne

Venus 6-7 (3-7) 3-0 Ivanovic
Ana’s turn to show she is up for the fight but Venus is in the zone at the moment, especially at the net, where she can seemingly do no wrong. She has got a bit of daylight in this second set now and Ana has a lot to think about as she sips her water at the changeover.

Venus 6-7 (3-7) 2-0 Ivanovic
More superb stuff by Venus, who seems to have upped her game after a poor tie-break. Some ferocious forehands give her two break points and she puts away a backhand volley this time to take the game in style.

“Why are these updates on 24/7?! African Nations Cup during the day, Aussie Open at night! Not handy when you’re trying to revise 🙂 Anyway, Jelena Jankovic all the way. Sharapova and then Venus in the final will both succumb!”
Ali, struggling Strathclyde uni student! on text 81111

Venus 6-7 (3-7) 1-0 Ivanovic
How will Venus respond to dropping that first set. Very well, actually. She powers down a couple of booming serves to hold with ease.

Venus 6-6 (3-7) Ivanovic
A cracking Ana forehand puts her 4-2 up and, despite upping the volume again, Venus is soon chasing this one, putting a woeful backhand volley into the bottom of the net. Ana serves for the set at 6-2 but has to wait for another mistake on the volley from Williams to wrap it up and take what has been a fascinating first set. More of the same please!

Venus 6-6 Ivanovic
Ana goes for broke again on the Venus serve but the American holds to love and we are going to have a tie-break to decide this first set.

“This is great competitve tennis. They are both taking their opportunities on the second serve and this match could go either way.”
BBC Sport’s Chris Bailey in Melbourne

Venus 5-6 Ivanovic
Another tense one. Ana is under some pressure at 30-30 but her serve does not let her down and the Serb holds when Venus puts a smash into the net.

Some belated fashion news – Venus is wearing a microscopic skirt to round off a nice blue, white and black stripey blouse, while Ana has elected for a little blue number. They both look very hot out there – it is a lot warmer in Melbourne than it is here in Shepherd’s Bush, I think.

Venus 5-5 Ivanovic
Venus is into her groove now. A superbly athletic smash gets her going and she is into the net again to put away a volley and level this one again.

0245: Some good news from Court 19. Britain’s Daniel Evans is into the fourth round of the boy’s singles after a 6-3 6-2 victory over Tyy D Trombetta of the United States. A good win for the boy from Brum.

Venus 4-5 Ivanovic
It’s Ana’s turn to see if she can hold…and she does so without any problems. A classy volley gets her off to a good start and despite a dodgy double-fault she is now on the brink of taking the first set. No pressure on that Venus serve then.

“Go Bevan! Any info on the two contenders’ dresses tonight? Let’s hope there’s no injury keeping Venus from performing at her best…”
Chris, Hampstead. Again. The Uri Geller of tennis and all that on text 81111

In case you missed it, Chris spotted Serena Williams had a blister last night, even before she took her sock off. If either player is carrying an injury tonight, he will be the first to know, trust me…

Venus 4-4 Ivanovic
Venus has upped the volume to try to change her luck on serve and it works, just. A couple of double-faults knock her back to 30-40 but she digs in to hold for the first time. Well done!

“A great battle developing out here with two players at the top of their game and battling hard.”
BBC Sport’s Jonathan Overend in Melbourne

Venus 3-4 Ivanovic
These two are not holding back today. Some blistering returns by Venus this time, and she is able to come in to finish things off at the net. Ana’s backhand is not quite firing yet and another unforced error on that side gives Williams the break – can someone please hold their serve!?

Venus 2-4 Ivanovic
Blimey, Venus cannot buy a point on her serve at the moment – she has only won two in this match so far. Ana is going for break with pretty much every shot and it is paying off – a crunching backhand return flies down the line and yes, you guessed it, we have another break.

0222: As some of you may know, I’ve been a curse on the hopes of anyone British playing at Melbourne Park this year. Can Daniel Evans change all that? Let’s hope so…He is the third seed in the boy’s singles and up against Ty D Trombetta of the United States and has just won the first set 6-3. Fingers crossed…

Venus 2-3 Ivanovic
The Ana backhand is not quite such a formidable weapon as that spectacular forehand and Venus has already worked that out. Ana’s finding serving a lot more difficult than returning and we have yet another break. This one is very much in the balance…

Venus 1-3 Ivanovic
Phew, can Ana keep this up? Three forehands of real class give her another break. Now, can she hold her serve this time?

“Williams/Ivanovic is a men’s QF according to the BBC Sport website!”
Anon on text 81111

Glad you’re awake – you’ve passed my little test…

Venus 1-2 Ivanovic
Ana is still smashing the ball all over the place, but in this game the difference is they all fly out. A double-fault compounds her misery and that’s a break back for Venus.

“They have had a break each but, of the two, Ana has looked much more impressive. It was a stunning drop-shot by her to undercut it and set up her break – a shot of real magic. If we are going to see some more of that, then we are in for a real treat here.”
BBC Sport’s Jonathan Overend in Melbourne

Venus 0-2 Ivanovic
Venus has got a heavily strapped right thigh but she is still moving as well as ever and is keen as mustard to come into the net. A couple of crashing returns by Ana announce her intentions though, and a delicate drop shot sets her up for a crucial early break. Wow!

Venus 0-1 Ivanovic
Neither of these players have dropped a set in the tournament so far…so both in form then. Venus has won all four of their previous meetings but that doesn’t bother Ana here and she holds without too much trouble.

0203 : Here we go. Ivanovic to serve first.

By the way, don’t forget to play your part too. The night will go a lot quicker if YOU get involved, so text me now on 81111 with the word TENNIS before your comment.

0159: There’s a place in the semi-finals up for grabs and the winner will play Daniela Hantuchova, who has just beaten Agnieszka Radwanska in her quarter-final on the Rod Laver Arena. A bit one-sided, that one…

0152: Morning folks, sleep is sooooo over-rated isn’t it? Plenty to keep you awake tonight too, starting with former World number one Venus Williams against fourth seed Ana Ivanovic. It could be a cracker…let’s hope so.

Story from BBC SPORT

Venus v Mirza as it happened

Australian Open, Melbourne

Women’s third-round result:

V Williams (US) v S Mirza (Ind)

7-6 (7-0) 6-4

By Sarah Holt

Second set:

Williams 6-4 Mirza
Williams is making this look easy now as she moves to 40-0 and match point. Mirza nets and that’s it, Williams is through.

“That is what Williams needed a test – but not overly stretched – and now Williams is set for a title tilt in the second week of the Open.”
BBC Sport’s Chris Bailey

Williams 5-4 Mirza
An ace from Mirza is challenged by Venus but it’s good and that sees the Indian hold on.

1230: News in from Melbourne. If this match finishes in two sets then Hewitt and Baghdatis will play tonight (if we are on Melbourne time).

Williams 5-3 Mirza
Mirza curls down the corners of her mouth as Williams sails to 40-0 and the American holds to move to within one game of the set. The crowd are getting anxious and there are increasing calls for Venus. Could they secretly be wanting to see a certain Mr Hewitt take on one Mir Baghdatis?

Williams 4-3 Mirza
Venus carves out a break point at 30-40 – but despite a challenge – the ball is out and Mirza recovers deuce. The American sends down a big forehand and Mirza nets to hand the eighth seed the break. Could Hewitt be getting closer?

“I think Venus deserves that break as she has been on and on at Mirza. If Mirza wants to get close to her potential then she has to get her serve in shape as the rest of her game is terrific.”
BBC Sport analyst Sam Smith

Williams 3-3 Mirza
Williams once again holds her serve very comfortably – and as yet no sign of a break through for either player.

1212: “The question is; “will Mirza change her game pattern or just look for defeat?”
Jarvishenriques on 606

Williams 2-3 Mirza
It is testament to Mirza’s fighting spirit that this match is as tight as it is; she is refusing to give ground to Venus. The tactics from the 31st seed seem to be to hit the ball as hard as she can and respond instinctively to Venus. So far so good in this second, as she holds.

Williams 2-2 Mirza
No trouble for Williams here as she holds.

1203: (so 1103 at night in Melbourne) Still no word, by the way, on whether Hewitt v Baghdatis will go ahead after this match. Good old Chris Bailey has gone a bit Ricky from the Kaiser Chiefs on the matter.

“If it wasn’t played tonight there would be a riot I think.”
BBC Sport’s Chris Bailey

Williams 1-2 Mirza
A lack of concentration is threatening to derail Mirza here as Venus moves to 30-0. The Indian just pops the ball long to hand Venus a break chance but she recovers for deuce. She moves to advantage and holds.

Williams 1-1 Mirza
Venus uses up one of her challenges and proves the line judge wrong as her serve is good. The American has dropped her tempo a little bit and slides to 40-30, but she holds.

Williams 0-1 Mirza
So Mirza knows she is in for a scramble now and she manages to hold in the second-set opener.

First set:

Williams 7-6 Mirza
The luck is going with Williams in the tie-break as she storms to a 5-0 lead. Williams looks unstoppable now as she leaps up for an easy smash at 6-0. The American skips a forehand down the line and it’s a perfect breaker for Venus who takes it 7-0 to wrap up the first set.

“It shows you what a great champion Venus is, as she didn’t get flustered, and she worked it out.”
BBC Sport analyst Sam Smith

Williams 6-6 Mirza
It really does look like Venus has moved up a gear here as she gets hold of two set points. Mirza scrambles to save deuce. A wild, looping shot from Williams takes the 31st seed to advantage but, put your fingers in your ears folks, Mirza lets out a piercing scream as she thwacks the ball into the net post. It seems to have done the trick though as she holds – and we head for a tie-break.

“I thought it was Sharapova screaming out there – and her screaming was up there with a pneumatic drill yesterday.”
BBC Sport’s Chris Bailey

Williams 6-5 Mirza
Venus finds her service rhythm and whacks down an ace to hold to love. The American walks off court with her jaw visibly steeled. Has the tide turned?

Williams 5-5 Mirza
Can Mirza hold her nerve on her serve, eh? Venus steals the first two points but Mirza recovers to 30-30. Venus earns her first break point as she sends a forehand inching down the line and the 31st seed goes long to hand Venus the break back. The former Mrs Williams Oracene, wearing Jackie O shades, watches on dispassionately from the stands.

1134: “I’ll go Venus in three tight sets.”
Il_Principe on 606

Williams 4-5 Mirza
There are plenty of fizzing strokes on court and Venus is beaded in sweat as she fights to stay in the set. The American eighth seed dumps the ball into the net to slide to deuce. Mirza uses one of her three challenges but the Hawk-Eye replay shows the ball bounced well into the tramlines and Venus moves to advantage. Mirza recovers deuce but Venus holds and the Indian must serve it out.

Williams 3-5 Mirza
Mirza is moving really well around the court, and that is probably where she is giving Venus most trouble. The Indian 31st seed scrambles to the net for 15-0 and sends Venus left and right before delivering a cross-court diagonal. Venus claws back two points but Mirza snuffs out the threat to move closer to the set.

Williams 3-4 Mirza
Williams cuts the lead by holding fairly comfortably on her service game.

1121: “Mirza could very well cause an upset here. Venus is prone to errors and Mirza has to capitalise on that.”
JT_BlueForever on 606

Williams 2-4 Mirza
Mirza is keeping up the momentum and consolidates the break, conceding just a single point.

Williams 2-3 Mirza
It really is flat out there at the Rod Laver Arena so how about a break of serve to get the crowd going? Mirza obliges with some more stunning groundstrokes, sealing the break with a lovely half-volley over the net.

“You could see Mirza doing this tonight. If she has a good serving day and can just peg Williams back, you could say she is better from the back of the court.”
BBC Sport’s Chris Bailey

Williams 2-2 Mirza
Venus stands astride the T on the baseline and whacks down a couple of big forehands to steal 0-30 on the Mirza serve. But the 31st seed digs out a few more of those precise forehands and holds to keep this set ticking along on serve.

Williams 2-1 Mirza
Sorry, after the excitement of Roger Federer’s win over Janko Tipsarevic this match is failing to spark similar fervour. Nonetheless, Venus holds.

Williams 1-1 Mirza
Mirza holds with a minimum amount of trouble. And to cheer up proceedings here’s some thoughts from Mikesiva on 606 .

“This will be an interesting test for Venus. If she can get past Mirza, a mouth-watering quarter-final with Ivanovic beckons.”

Williams 1-0 Mirza
Mirza is starting aggressively and her power shots pay off as she moves to deuce on the Venus serve. But the 31st seed over-cooks it a couple of times and Venus holds. The new crowd in for the evening session are a bit flat at the minute.

1058: We will keep you posted on whether the big match between Lleyton Hewitt and Marcos Baghdatis will go ahead after this match. If this match goes on beyond midnight Melbourne time then Hewitt-Baghdatis will be postponed. So let’s see how quickly we can get off the mark here.

1055: The signs aren’t good for Venus so far. The umpire calls “heads” at the coin toss and Venus says “what, tails?” Luckily, Mirza is more focused and elects to receive.

1050: Venus Williams was not at her best in her third-round win over Camille Pin and, unless she improves, Sania Mirza could have a chance here.

The Indian 31st seed has not got beyond the third round in Melbourne, while Williams has reached the final just once, in 2003.

Story from BBC SPORT

Henin v Venus as it happened

Flushing Meadows, New York, 27 August-9 September

US Open, Flushing Meadows Semi-final result:

J HENIN (Bel) bt V WILLIAMS (USA)

7-6 (7-2) 6-4

By Piers Newbery

 

 

Second set:

Henin 6-4 Venus
It’s over! Venus sends a forehand well long on Henin’s first match point and the Belgian looks overjoyed – she’s beaten Serena and Venus in successive matches and it doesn’t get any tougher than that.

Henin 5-4 Venus
You may have thought it was all over but it isn’t now. Venus gets a break point and converts with the help of a huge return and a thumping drive volley. Unfortunately, Brit Dan Evans has gone out of the boys’ singles to Matteo Trevisan.

Henin 5-3 Venus
Venus has the trainer on at the changeover and gets her pulse taken, rather worryingly. She doesn’t take a timeout, though, and comes out to serve, but Henin takes control early and moves 0-30 in front. Venus then goes close with a forehand and challenges but it’s well wide and three break points for the Belgian. Two sloppy returns follow but a tired looking Venus sends a backhand long and that could be curtains.

2256: “This is incredible. I’m a great fan of women’s tennis, above the steam-train of the men’s game, but the power & precision here is very impressive… let alone some of those rallies!”
From Wot Kuyt ‘e did on 606

Henin 4-3 Venus
The Venus backhand is on fire. Not literally, obviously, but she gets to 0-40 and three break points with a spectacular winner. Henin saves the first with a decent serve but Venus then makes three unforced errors to hand back the initiative. Janet Jackson looks impassive in the players’ box.

Henin 3-3 Venus
Well, well. Well. Venus gets back on level terms after Henin battles back from 40-15 down to deuce in another pulsating game. Meanwhile, Brit junior Dan Evans is deep into the first set of his boys’ quarter-final against Italian third seed Matteo Trevisan. And Pat Cash is walloping Henri Leconte on Grandstand Court. It’s all go.

Henin 3-2 Venus
Henin plays a wonderful lob volley and a fizzing cross-court backhand winner but she is caught out when serve-volleying on game point and soon finds herself break-point down. Venus hammers a backhand down the line and it’s back on serve.

Henin 3-1 Venus
Venus is getting no respite at all as Henin attacks off the return at every opportunity, and the American does brilliantly to hold on from deuce under serious pressure.

Henin 3-0 Venus
Henin holds to 15 and all of a sudden she is in complete control.

Henin 2-0 Venus
Undertsandably, the intensity has dropped and it’s not helping Venus who lets a 40-15 lead disappear. Henin then steps up a gear with a magnificent point, battling her way to the net before producing the deftest of half-volley drop shots. She then breaks with a forehand pass that leaves Venus stranded at the net – fantastic play from the world number one.

Henin 1-0 Venus
After all that excitement there is a hush on Arthur Ashe Stadium as Henin holds to 15 in the first game of the set, and jogs back to her chair.

2218: “Venus is not a very good advert for her clothing line….she’s pulling at those uber short shorts more than Rafa does.”
From paleochora on 606

2216: Henin has nipped off for a ‘comfort break’.

First set:

Henin 7-6 (7-2) Venus
Absolutely bloomin’ marvellous. It doesn’t get better than that set of tennis, which lasts exactly one hour. The quality from both players remains incredible in the tie-break but Henin dominates, opening with a forehand winner down the line, finding one beautiful angled volley and moving 4-2 clear with an ace out wide. She does not look back from there and seals the set with a winning return.

Henin 6-6 Venus
A couple of searing forehand passes see Henin move 30-15 up before she double faults. The Belgian eventually takes the next point with a volley but is finding it incredibly difficult to get the ball past Venus at the moment. Venus challenges a call on the next point but is unsuccessful and it’s a tie-break.

2134: “Wow – they’ve taken all the missing energy from the chak/kuz semi and poured it into this one. This is full on.”
From tenisx on 606

Henin 5-6 Venus
The most ridiculous, and brilliant, point of the match kicks off the game. Henin comes to the net and withstands a barrage of fierce hitting from Venus before the American finally gets past her. The crowd are on their feet for that one. Venus then hits two double faults as everyone gets their breath back and we’re soon at deuce again. Venus appears to have won the game before the umpire decides a point should be replayed, although Hawkeye isn’t called for, but the elder Williams sister stands firm and takes the lead.

Henin 5-5 Venus
Henin earns two set points at 40-15 but Venus picks up a short volley and puts away a cross-court backhand, before finding a forehand winner to level at deuce. Henin misses a backhand on her third set point and then puts another well long – it’s break point Venus. Henin’s forehand fails again and the crowd goes wild as their woman levels things up.

Henin 5-4 Venus
The game opens with the best rally so far as Henin scrambles to stay in it before firing a forehand cross-court past Venus at the net – although the American may have left it. A Venus error follows and it’s 0-30 but she fights back well with a big serve and a lunging backhand volley on her way to holding.

Henin 5-3 Venus
A very solid service game from Henin keeps the world number one a break up and Venus is not making much impression on the return at the moment.

Henin 4-3 Venus
Henin deals fantastically with a towering defensive lob from Venus that bounces just inside the baseline, smacking it away cross-court without a second thought, but a backhand error on the next point gives Venus the game.

Henin 4-2 Venus
Both players are prepared to get to the net, with Venus squeezing a volley just wide on the opening point before Henin holds comfortably.

2134: Just seen the order of play for tomorrow – we’ve got NoDjo v Ferrer at 5pm UK time, Fed against N-Dav at 8pm and the women’s final at 1am. It’s going to be a long, emotional night.

Henin 3-2 Venus
This time it’s Venus who wobbles with a double fault but at 30-30 she finds a big first serve and gets out of trouble. It’s tense stuff now, which is a welcome relief after the earlier semi-final. Meanwhile, feel free to join the tennis/fashion debate on 606 or via text on 81111 . We’re getting far too many texts on rugby at the moment, in which France are flirting with defeat.

Henin 3-1 Venus
The first sign of weakness from Henin comes with a double fault at 15-15 but Venus cannot punish her, making an error on the following point. Henin sticks away a mid-court forehand to go to 40-30 and a Venus error hands the Belgian the game.

Henin 2-1 Venus
Venus does well to get off the mark with a thumping serve and a couple of Henin returns that go long.

Henin 2-0 Venus
It’s an awesome start from Henin, who holds to love and looks incredibly focused. Incidentally, fashion fans, Henin is wearing her usual red and white attire with a white cap, while Venus has gone back to the lilac number from earlier in the tournament.

2116: “Already, the first game in the second semi is so much better in quality than the entire first semi! Henin breaks….”
From mikesiva on 606

Henin 1-0 Venus
It’s a slow start from Venus who slips to 15-40 with three errors. She saves the first with a decent serve but Henin climbs all over a Venus second serve on the next and whacks a forehand return for a winner. A great shot.

2111: This should be a cracker – and Venus is clearly excited as she’s gone for a bathroom break after the knock-up. Henin looks less than impressed.

2108: It’s time for the big one – can Venus gain revenge for her sister Serena and knock out the world number one, Henin?

The head-to-head record is, frankly, pretty useless as a guide. Venus has an extraordinary 7-1 lead but they have not played since January, 2003.

Both players have looked in superb form in New York, with Henin yet to drop a set and Venus bursting with confidence following her win at Wimbledon.

And after Svetlana Kuznetsova beat Anna Chakvetadze in the earlier semi-final, there’s not much doubt that the winner here will be a big favourite for Saturday’s final.

Story from BBC SPORT

Venus v Jankovic as it happened

US Open, Flushing Meadows Quarter-final result:

V Williams (US) v J Jankovic (Ser)

4-6 6-1 7-6

By Caroline Cheese

Venus 4-6 6-1 7-6 Jankovic
Jankovic seems to have saved all her unforced errors for the tiebreak – which is a shame. Williams, with all that big-match experience, surges into a 5-3 lead, sees off a mini Jankovic comeback before winning it with a stunning drive volley. Henin up next for Williams. Stay tuned for Federer v Roddick.

Venus 4-6 6-1 6-6 Jankovic
Another phenomenal game. Jankovic just keeps making Venus play one more ball and the American doesn’t like it. Jankovic fights back from 40-15 to deuce but yet again, Venus brings out the big serve and it’s tie-break time. The players get a standing ovation for their efforts so far.

Venus 4-6 6-1 5-6 Jankovic
Williams threatens at 30-30 but yet another forehand error hands Jankovic the game. She knows she’ll get a tiebreak at the very least.

0228: “Whoever wins will still sucumb to Justine!”
Anon via text on 81111

Venus 4-6 6-1 5-5 Jankovic
While Venus’ first serve keeps firing, Jankovic is going to struggle. The American is over 70% in this set.

Venus 4-6 6-1 4-5 Jankovic
That’s the ninth game in a row on serve now. Amazing. If Jankovic comes through this, it could be the making of her. She only needs one more game… easy.

0220: “Hey Caroline, how did your match with Greg go? Jankovic to win, by the way!”
JW in Nottingham via text on 81111 (This is neither the time nor the place to be discussing such matters… Oh OK. It was humiliating. Utterly humiliating. More of that to follow when I manage to write it up)

Venus 4-6 6-1 4-4 Jankovic
Was that the rally of the tournament in the match of the tournament so far? Venus looks out of it so many times but she scrambles back a sliced backhand as Jankovic collapses on the court. But it’s Venus who loses the next two points and has to save a break point with a courageous forehand. Venus comes through again.

Venus 4-6 6-1 3-4 Jankovic
This isn’t the Venus we saw in the second set – but you have to hand it to Jankovic. She hasn’t even been taken to deuce on serve in this set. Venus will win this if she can find that second-set form but if not…

Venus 4-6 6-1 3-3 Jankovic
Venus finishes off the game with an ace. The tension is building folks.

Venus 4-6 6-1 2-3 Jankovic
Venus belts a backhand long and looks up to mum Oracene for inspiration. Oracene appears to do a little dance. All very odd. It doesn’t work either as Jankovic takes the game to 30.

Venus 4-6 6-1 2-2 Jankovic
Venus responds with a love service game of her own. Is this the best women’s match of the tournament so far? Probably…

Venus 4-6 6-1 1-2 Jankovic
Jankovic holds to love. Interesting…

Venus 4-6 6-1 1-1 Jankovic
Could be a pivotal game this one. Jankovic earns a break point but Williams produces a raking backhand cross-court to see off the danger. Plenty more deuces but nothing doing for Jankovic, with Venus finishing the game with two successive aces. For those of you hoping for a quick end so we can get on with Federer-Roddick. Sorry, we may be here some time.

0145: “My money is on Venus along with my heart.”
Anon via text on 81111

Venus 4-6 6-1 0-1 Jankovic
Much better from Jankovic, who gives it a “come on” after taking the game.

Second set

Venus 4-6 6-1 Jankovic
Williams is forced into a forehand error on her first set point but no bother, she powers down a first serve to earn another before Jankovic nets a backhand. From a set and a break down, Venus is in control after six games in a row.

Venus 4-6 5-1 Jankovic
Jankovic does well to save two break points but even she has to applaud Venus’ forehand winner which makes it another break.

Venus 4-6 4-1 Jankovic
That is a phenomenal forehand from Venus to wrap up the game, accompanied by a familiar Williams scream. As they sit down for the changeover, the opening bars of James Brown’s ‘I Feel Good’ blare out. It sounds very similar.

0131: “I’m here (see 0121)! Waitin for Fed to kick some butt!”
Anon via text on 81111 (You may be waiting a while longer)

Venus 4-6 3-1 Jankovic
Venus latches onto a weak second serve and smacks it down the line to earn two break points. Jankovic saves those – but Venus snatches a third and, by golly, I think we’re heading for a decider.

Venus 4-6 2-1 Jankovic
Looks like a cakewalk for Venus at 40-0 but then Jankovic throws up another winning lob and the American double-faults for the sixth time. She comes through though.

0121: “It’s quite worrying only the gamblers are txtin this time of night… Am I the sole insomniac out there?”
Vamp from Brum via text on 81111

Venus 4-6 1-1 Jankovic
That’s more like the Venus we know, piling on the pressure with some brutal groundstrokes to get the break back.

Venus 4-6 0-1 Jankovic
Of course, as we all know, Jankovic has won her last three matches against Venus so any fool could have predicted this… just not this fool. Venus is in all sorts of trouble. She belts a drive volley so long it draws gasps from the crowd. That gives Jankovic a break point and she takes it with a stunning lob.

0113: “Should be in bed but want to ‘see’ the match!”
Anon via text on 81111

First set

Venus 4-6 Jankovic
Terrible start from Jankovic. Some powder-puff first serves allow Venus to take control of the points and she moves into a 30-0 lead. But Jankovic hits back brilliantly, taking it on her first set point with a backhand beyond the desperate reach of Williams. See? I told you Venus would… oh.

Venus 4-5 Jankovic
The professional journalist would have noted down how many forehands Venus has missed in this match. Unfortunately I’m not one of those – but I can tell you is that it’s a lot. Still she manages to get one down the line – and in – to pile the pressure on her opponent. My money’s still on Venus…

Venus 3-5 Jankovic
Venus looks ready to pounce but Jankovic stands firm, rifling a backhand pass down the line to move to within a game of the first set.

Venus 3-4 Jankovic
Suddenly not looking so good for Jankovic. Venus gets her first serve firing and that enables her to take that game easily to 15.

0055: “So how much do texts to this number cost then? Should probably write that on the page. Not too bothered who wins this to be honest, I want Fed v ARod.”
Anon via text on 81111 (The blurb says: “Texts will be charged at network rates – check with your provider.”)

Venus 2-4 Jankovic
Jankovic loses the double-break immediately. The Serb isn’t quite sure about a call on the baseline but with only one challenge remaining, she opts against calling on Hawk-Eye.

0051: “Caroline, you don’t seem to have much faith in Jelena… is it because she’s an honorary Brit now, and it’s traditional to expect the worst from our lot?”
amc via text on 81111 (I’ve got a lot more faith in her now, believe me)

Venus 1-4 Jankovic
Two double-faults put Vens in trouble. She somehow saves one break point with some desperate volleys but Jankovic unleashes a stunning return on the second and this is a surprising scoreline. And I’m not saying that because I predicted Venus to win.

0041: “Morning Caza, can I call you Caza or do you prefer the slightly less exotic Caroline? Anyway it’s Grant the gambler (formerly anon). Smart money’s on Venus.”
Grant the gambler via text on 81111 (It’s Caroline. There’s a Princess Caroline. I don’t think there’s a Princess Caza is there?)

Venus 1-3 Jankovic
Venus is doing her best to intimidate Jankovic by standing right inside the baseline to receive serve. To be fair, she does that to everyone. But Venus’s wonky forehand is proving, well, a bit wonky at the moment. She lets the Serb off the hook by wasting three break points.

0033: “Could Venus get a tighter outfit? What a lovely fashion statement. I can say that because I’m a man!”
Anon via text on 81111

Venus 1-2 Jankovic
Venus off the mark but it’s a helluva battle for the American. She refers a call to Hawk-Eye – which she hardly ever does – and is proved correct.

Venus 0-2 Jankovic
Jankovic has come out all guns blazing, hitting the ball hard and long to keep Venus off balance. Surely she can’t keep it up?

0026: “Evening. Which way is this going to go!? Maybe Venus should shade it…”
Andrew in bed in County Londonderry via text on 81111

Venus 0-1 Jankovic
Venus spanks a backhand into the net and it’s break point Jankovic. After a gripping rally, Jankovic dollies a half-volley just over the net and though Venus scrambles it back, Jankovic calmly sends over the lob.

0022: “Set for the long haul! I know it’s too soon but I’m leaving now. So: Come on federer! And Jankovic – she’s prettier….”
Giles, London, via text on 81111 (Bye then…)

0020: Just a couple of minutes to go before this one gets under way. Enough time for me to predict Venus will win in straight sets. Disagree? Text me on 81111 .

0005: Evening, morning… whatever you want to call it. Venus Williams and Jelena Jankovic are due on court at the Arthur Ashe Stadium. They’re not there just yet, probably just doing their make-up or something. I can say that because I’m a woman.

Story from BBC SPORT

Williams-Bartoli as it happened

Wimbledon women’s final result: V WILLIAMS (US) 23 v M BARTOLI (Fr) 18

6-4 6-11559: And that’s it – as the players parade the trophies around the ground and the press corp and crowd get their photos – I will bid you adieu and remind you to rejoin me tomorrow for the Federer-Nadal match. I’ve been predicting one all week, but THAT might just be a classic… Laters people.

1557: Venus, struggling to follow Bartoli’s Oscar-winning speech, dishes out a list of thank-yous as long as your arm and then thanks the All England club for bringing the women’s’ winnings in line with the men. Well, you would, wouldn’t you.

1554: Bartoli – the new darling of Centre Court – thanks the crowd, “the best grass-court player in the world” Venus and her father in the crowd, prompting huge cheers and tears from her dad in the stands. Wonderful stuff, I’m actually getting a bit choked – tart that I am.

1552: Marion Bartoli, eyes red with tears, comes up to collect her runner-up plate and is greeted by a wonderful, and deserved ovation. But the biggest cheer is saved for Venus, the new Wimbledon champion.

1550: As the Duke of Kent makes his way onto Centre Court in order to present Venus the trophy, Venus’s little sister Serena gets the camera out… ah, bless her.

SECOND SET

Williams 6-4 6-1 Bartoli
That’s it. A brave, brave effort from Bartoli, who certainly earned herself a few more fans on Centre Court, but Venus Williams’s power and accuracy always looked like it would prove too much for her. A 125mph service winner highlights the power of Venus’s strokeplay and she holds to 30 with a couple of forehand winners and a massive service winner. That’s the American’s fourth Wimbledon title and what an SW19 champion she is.

Williams 6-4 5-1 Bartoli
Oh dear, that is more than likely curtains for Bartoli as she goes down to deuce on serve. Venus continues to drill through the line of the ball with awesome power and Bartoli fails to cope, going long and then hitting the net to go down two break points. Somehow the Frenchwoman saves both with brilliant backhands but Venus brings up a third with a volley and forehands home to move to within four points of the Championship.

Williams 6-4 4-1 Bartoli
Impressive from Venus, who is nearing the finish line in this second set with some big hitting. Bartoli hangs tough with a couple of big backhands, but the American, with her left thigh heavily strapped now, is starting to hit the corners with awesome regularity and the end could be near…

“…obviously not.”
BBC Sport pundit John McEnroe

Williams 6-4 3-1 Bartoli
Bartoli may not win this match, but she has certainly won the crowd’s affection. First she joins in the Mexican wave, then she laughs and plays along good-naturedly when someone calls out to her just as she is about to serve, and then she serves out a love game with a big fat smile on her face. Go on girl.

“The break clearly favoured Bartoli more you have to say and you wonder if Venus has lost her edge right now.”
BBC Sport pundit John McEnroe

“She did the Mexican wave with the crowd, she’s was relaxed and laughing (during Venus’s injury break), and maybe it’s loosened her up a bit.”
Five Live’s Michael Stich on Bartoli

1530: And here comes the Mexican wave, which ordinarily I would find loathsome but as both the contents of the royal box and Bartoli herself join in, I guess it’s ok. And we’re back under way…

1527: Venus, not wanting to be out-done, responds by calling for a massage and a spot of treatment herself. It’s quite technical treatment, consisting of a woman waving a bunch of tissues at Venus’s groin – I kid you not. Is having a warm groin reason enough to call for a trainer?

1521: We have a trainer out on court as Bartoli calls for a change of bandages on her left foot, apparently because of blisters. Call me a woolly woofter, but I always find it icky when physios or trainers have to mess about with sportspeople’s feet – the smell alone would make me heave, let alone picking sock fluff out of blisters and what not. Eeewww.

Williams 6-4 3-0 Bartoli
A glimmer for Bartoli, who goes 30-0 up against the serve, but Venus takes a huge step towards the title with a series of brutal serves to win four points in a row and hold.

Williams 6-4 2-0 Bartoli
Venus has upped her game again and displays terrific athleticism to recover from a slip to bludgeon a forehand winner to move to 30-15 up. Bartoli somehow fends off brilliant Venus defence to level but then throws up another double fault – her fifth – to go break point down. The rally of the match ensues, Bartoli sending Williams all over the court before forcing the error on the 21st stroke to go to deuce, but a forehand error gifts Venus another break chance. It is saved again, but Venus brings up a third with a sensational overhead backhand winner and then sends a terrific forehand down the line to seal the game. Unbelievable quality from both players in that match, but you wonder if Bartoli’s hopes are fading here.

Williams 6-4 1-0 Bartoli
Venus holds to 30 to kick off the set, holding off renewed Bartoli aggression and producing a superb forehand slice into the corner to seal the game.

FIRST SET

Williams 6-4 Bartoli
Venus senses an opportunity and screams – literally and metaphorically – groundstroke after groundstroke back at Bartoli. Two massive backhands put her 30-0 up and Bartoli’s fourth double fault hands the American two break points. Bartoli digs in to save the first with a fine backhand crosscourt, but Venus makes the most of the second with a backhand volley and that’s the set.

“Venus was the overwhelming favourite coming in, and you’d have to think after that first set that she will relax even more. She can sense the finishing line now and, as much as a fighter as Bartoli is, I’m not sure Venus will crumble like Henin did yesterday.”
BBC Sport pundit John McEnroe

Williams 5-4 Bartoli
Just what the doctor ordered as far as Venus is concerned, holding to love without alarm. Daddy Richard looks unmoved in the cheering section. Daddy Bartoli is sat directly behind him, just about resisting the urge to make bunny ears behind Williams’s head every time the camera focuses on them.

Williams 4-4 Bartoli
Great work from Bartoli, bringing out the big berther on serve and forcing Venus long on her returns. The Frenchwoman holds to 15, sealing the game with a thumping backhand. Any thoughts that Venus would overpower her opponent have been utterly silenced out on Centre.

“Bartoli has found her game now, no doubt about that, and the confidence is rising in her.”
BBC Sport pundit John McEnroe

Williams 4-3 Bartoli
You can tell Venus is looking to get things pumping because she’s brought out the Williams grunt. It’s not yet hitting the heights on the Richter scale, but it’s getting there. Bartoli responds by going on the all-out attack to varying degrees of success, twice smashing winners, but more often than not either going long or seeing a Venus return fly by her feet. The American holds to 30.

Williams 3-3 Bartoli
Now we’re cooking baby. Bartoli sends a sensational forehand winner down the line to gain the early initiative before Venus responds with a fantastic crosscourt backhand of her own that grazes the line and pulls her back to 30-30. A couple of big Bartoli serves see out the match and there’s a sense that we’re in for some magic today.

Williams 3-2 Bartoli
A first glimmer of the match for Bartoli, twice forcing the error to move to 30-15 up on Venus’s serve and the American then double faulting to hand her two break points. Venus saves one but then sends a forehand long to hand Bartoli the break. We have a match ladies and gentlemen!

“Much better from Bartoli, who is sensing that Venus is a little vulnerable on the second serve and the forehand side. Venus doesn’t have the aura she did when she won in 2000 and Bartoli might sense an opportunity here.”
BBC Sport pundit Tracy Austin

Williams 3-1 Bartoli
With Johnny Mac and Tracy Austin rabbitting away like a couple of OAPs at a bus stop in the Comm box, poor old David Mercer can barely get a word in. I wonder if he’s asleep? If he is, the cheer of the Centre Court crowd ought to wake him as Bartoli gets her first game on the board. The Frenchwoman double faults twice and has to fend off another break point, but she pulls a couple of big forehands out of the bag on her way to a precious hold.

Williams 3-0 Bartoli
Venus consolidates with a good service game, Bartoli snatching the odd point with a couple of big groundstrokes but, otherwise, the American dominates. Venus’s serve is already ticking over nicely and that does not bode well for Bartoli.

“So often the nerves can hit, the feet don’t move and you start to struggle. Venus is such a big hitter that Bartoli can’t get away with that if she wants to get into this match.”
BBC Sport pundit Tracy Austin

Williams 2-0 Bartoli
Bartoli gets her first point on the board as Venus pushes a forehand long, but is fortunate to draw level at 30-30 when the American finds the net with a simple return of serve. The Frenchwoman comes out on top of the first rally of the match with a crosscourt winner, but Venus takes it to deuce with a forehand and goes on to break thanks to a Bartoli double fault. Whoopsie daisy Martin Hayesy as my good friend Mr Ben Dirs would say.

Williams 1-0 Bartoli
Bartoli, who lost the toss despite the tried-and-tested ‘tails never fails’ approach, receives first and Venus Williams holds to love, mixing powerful groundstrokes with the odd delicate drop-shot or slice. Judging by the cheers of the crowd, they’re backing Bartoli the underdog too – will the 18th seed be able to rise to the occasion?

“I’d love to be able to measure Bartoli’s heart-rate right now – it’s got to be tipping 250 bpm.”
BBC Sport pundit John McEnroe

1414: Rather amusingly, Bartoli seems to be getting somewhat annoyed that Venus keeps zipping groundstokes past her into the corners, rather than engaging in the usual easy-does-it knock-up. An early attempt to gain the mental edge from the American? That’s just not cricket. They say Britons love an underdog, well I’m going for Bartoli to produce one of the greatest stories of these magnificent Championships today…

“Bartoli has got to press her game early and try to get into the match as soon as possible. If she does, she’s got good hands and a good eye, and she might just cause an upset.”
BBC Sport pundit Martina Navratilova

1407: With plenty of the crowd grabbing a fresh Pimms, the two girls bounce onto court, bouquet of flowers in tow, and receive a decent ovation. Venus looks ridiculously mean and focused, like big Clint Eastwood in his prime, while Bartoli adopts the usual lost-dog nervy look. Just as she did before dispensing with Henin last night…

1404: Few people will have predicted this match-up at the start of the tournament but I reckon this might surprise a few people and turn out a classic. Venus Williams has been in supreme form all fortnight, but Marion Bartoli was unbelievable last night against Justine Henin. Picture desk Jez, who tipped Bartoli against the odds last night, thinks the Frenchwoman has had her day in the sun and Venus will win in straight sets. Blooming turncoat.

Ivanovic vs Williams as it happened

Wimbledon semi-final result:

A IVANOVIC (Ser) 6 v V WILLIAMS (US) 23

2-6 4-6

SECOND SET

“Venus came out of the blocks so fast and Ivanovic was overwhelmed early on. She did recover to make it a match but Williams dominated and had 16 break points in total.”
BBC Sport pundit Martina Navratilova

Ivanovic 2-6 4-6 Williams
Venus charges into a 30-0 lead but a fine forehand service return and a Williams mis-read of a drop shot keeps Ana in the contest. The end is soon coming though and a wide backhand from Ivanovic puts Venus in her sixth Wimbledon final. It was an impressive performance from the 27-year-old while the “Catherine Zeta Jones of tennis” (as the commentator describes Ivanovic) will have to wait for another year.

Ivanovic 2-6 4-5 Williams
Venus takes control of the game with the help of a stunning forehand winner from mid-court. Williams claims three match points but Ivanovic impressively holds her nerve to save them all which forces Venus to serve for the match.

Ivanovic 2-6 3-5 Williams
A glimmer of hope for Ana as she goes 30-0 up. But Venus is like a dog with a bone and battles back to deuce before two unforced errors from Ivanovic gives the American the game.

Ivanovic 2-6 3-4 Williams
Williams claims two break points thanks to a couple of fine winners. Ivanovic then meekly fires into the net and Venus is back in charge of this set. I am not going to say how decisive that is though as my boss sitting next to me has just pointed out my woeful prediction from earlier.

Ivanovic 2-6 3-3 Williams
Venus holds serve with a wonderful cross-court forehand winner as she scampers to a deep Ivanovic shot into the corner. What a way to win a game.

Ivanovic 2-6 3-2 Williams
Ivanovic looks to be slowly getting her game together as she holds again. Williams comes to the net twice and is punished. Once with a drive to the body that she can only put into the net and the next with a cute Ivanovic lob that the lanky Williams cannot reach.

Ivanovic 2-6 2-2 Williams
You know when I said this could be over pretty soon? Well forget that. Ivanovic claims her first break with a forehand winner after Williams produces her sloppiest service game of the match so far. The crowd respond, they really want to see a contest.

Ivanovic 2-6 1-2 Williams
This could be over pretty soon folks. Ana just cannot cope with Venus’ groundstrokes and, combined with a poor first serve percentage, it is not looking too good for the sixth seed. Williams claims three break points and another double fault from Ivanovic gives the three-time Wimbledon winner a real stranglehold of the match.

Ivanovic 2-6 1-1 Williams
Some great stuff from Williams as she takes a 40-15 lead with a superb forehand winner as well as some more brutal backhands which leave Ivanovic scrambling. Ivanovic is battling just to keep in every point and lets out a desperate yelp of anguish as she skies a backhand which gives Williams the game.

Ivanovic 2-6 1-0 Williams
A vital game for Ivanovic to win, especially as she goes 0-30 down. She shows her fighting qualities and even issues her first celebration scream on the way to holding.

“Venus is keeping Ana so deep that when there is a short ball, Ivanovic cannot take advantage as she is six feet behind the baseline.”
BBC Sport pundit Martina Navratilova

FIRST SET

Ivanovic 2-6 Williams
Ruthless, powerful and precise – that’s Venus all over as she claims three sets points. She then double faults but Ana cannot hang on as she loses the first set in just 35 minutes.

Ivanovic 2-5 Williams
Ana keeps the set alive despite some wayward serving. Some funky telly graphics show that she has only won 51% of points on serve so far today. Even I realise that is not good.

Ivanovic 1-5 Williams
Williams looks rattled for the first time as she goes 0-30 down. Normal service is resumed though as she rattles off four straight points courtesy of some typically powerful strokes. The Centre Court crowd seem not to be taken by this semi yet and there is not a lot of noise from the fans.

Ivanovic 1-4 Williams
What a weird game. Venus claims three break points with the help of a mis-hit service return that also gets caught up in the wind to limp over the net. Ana shows signs of life to get the game back to deuce but two double faults and a couple of wayward forehands hands Venus a further four break points. The American fails to take any of them, Ana gets on the board for the first time and receives a warm reception as she returns to her seat.

Ivanovic 0-4 Williams
Better from Ana as for the first time so far, Venus is placed under pressure on her serve. The Serb claims two break points but Venus ups her game, as well as the screaming, to fight back. I reckon Ivanovic is being distracted by the bright luminous pink plasters on her knee. Just a thought.

“She has looked ready to go right from the start, Venus has imposed herself physically and stroke-wise.”
BBC Sport pundit Martina Navratilova

Ivanovic 0-3 Williams
Ana is having what is commonly described as a nightmare. She looks completely lost out here on Centre Court and is powerless to stop Williams in this mood. Venus claims two break points, sealing the break on the second as Ivanovic fires a backhand wide.

Ivanovic 0-2 Williams
It really is a perfect start for the three-time Wimbledon champion as she holds to love with little difficulty. Venus gets all of her first serves in and seals the game with a powerful mid-court backhand winner

Ivanovic 0-1 Williams
Venus immediately seizes the initiative as she takes advantage of a nervy start from the Serb. Ivanovic elects to serve first but is shaky, double faulting early on while a lucky net chord for the American puts her in charge of the game. Ana saves one break point but can’t stop Venus breaking on the next.

1523: While the duo are warming up, let’s have a look at how they got to the last four.

Venus has overcome Alla Kudryavtseva, Hana Sromova, Akiko Morigami, Maria Sharapova and Svetlana Kuznetsova while Ivanovic defeated Melinda Czink, Meilen Tu, Aravane Rezai, Nadia Petrova and Nicole Vaidisova to reach the Wimbledon last four for the first time.

They have met twice before, in 2004 in Zurich and Luxembourg in 2006, with Williams winning both in straight sets.

1521 BST: Here we go then for the first women’s semi-final. The two players are interviewed for the telly before taking to the Centre Court stage. They look remarkably chipper and relaxed, they are hiding the nerves well.