Wuhan (China): American veteran Venus Williams won a thrilling semi-final 5-7, 6-2, 7-6(4) against Italian Roberta Vinci to reach the Wuhan Open final on Friday.
Vinci has been having a career revival in recent weeks, including making the semi-finals in Wuhan this week and, a few weeks ago, reaching her first Grand Slam final at the US Open. During that run in New York she defeated Venus' sister Serena Williams, ending the world No.1's quest for the calendar year Grand Slam, reports Xinhua.
On Friday, big sister got some family revenge, but it wasn't easy by any means - after letting a 3-0 lead go en route to dropping the first set 5-7, Williams went right to the grind, finding the range on her big serve and ground strokes more and more to take the second set 6-2, and go up 5-2 in the third.
Vinci wasn't done. She came alive again, winning the next four games in a row to go up 6-5 and have a chance to serve for the match. She even got to match point in that 6-5 game, going up 40-30.
But the No. 15-seeded Italian missed her trademark backhand slice into the net to miss that match point and Williams pounced, ripping a pair of huge ground strokes in the next two points to break back.
Williams ripped a huge swing forehand volley to go up 6-4 in the tie-break, her own first match point, and Vinci missed a forehand wide to give the former World No.1 a tense victory.
"Oh wow, I'm so excited to play the final!" Williams said in her on-court interview after the match.
"That was my dream when I came to this tournament, to play the final and have a chance for the title here in Wuhan. Roberta played so well today - she had match point - so it was lucky for me to win this match."