Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images
LONDON — All these years later, Wimbledon still brings out the best in Venus Williams.
With her latest display of gutsy serving and big hitting, Williams beat Johanna Konta, 6-4, 6-2, on Thursday to reach her ninth title match at the All England Club and first since 2009.
At 37, Williams is the oldest Wimbledon finalist since Martina Navratilova was the 1994 runner-up at that age.
Williams also stopped Konta’s bid to become the first woman from Britain in 40 years to win the country’s Grand Slam tournament.
‘‘I couldn’t have asked for more, but I'll ask for a little more. One more win would be amazing,’’ Williams said. ‘‘It won’t be a given, but I'm going to give it my all.’’
She will be seeking her sixth Wimbledon championship and eighth Grand Slam singles trophy overall. Her most recent came in 2008, when she defeated her younger sister, Serena, for the title at the All England Club. A year later, she lost the final to Serena.
In the time since, Williams revealed that she was diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome, which can sap energy and cause joint pain. As time went on, there were questions about whether she might retire, especially after a half-dozen first-round losses at major tournaments. But she kept on going, and lately has returned to winning.
Her resurgence began in earnest at Wimbledon a year ago, when she made it to the semifinals. Then, at the Australian Open in January, Williams reached the final, where she lost to — yes, you guessed it — her sister. Serena is off the tour for the rest of this year because she is pregnant.
‘‘I missed her so much before this match. And I was like, ‘I just wish she was here.’ And I was like, ‘I wish she could do this for me,’ ’’ Williams said with a laugh. ‘‘And I was like, ‘No, this time you have to do it for yourself.’ So here we are.’’
On Saturday, the 10th-seeded American will participate in her second Grand Slam final of the season, and 16th of her career, this time against 14th-seeded Garbine Muguruza of Spain.
‘‘She knows how to play, especially Wimbledon finals,’’ Muguruza, the 2015 Wimbledon runner-up and 2016 French Open champion, said about Williams. ‘‘It’s going to be, like, a historic final again.’’
Muguruza overwhelmed 87th-ranked Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia, 6-1, 6-1, in the earlier semifinal.
Williams arrived in England a few weeks after being involved in a two-car accident in Florida; not long afterward, a passenger in the other vehicle died. At her initial news conference at Wimbledon, a tearful Williams briefly left the room to compose herself after being asked about the crash.
She has tried, coach David Witt said, to ‘‘just focus on the tennis.’’
In the semifinals, it was Konta who had the first chance to nose ahead, a point from serving from the opening set when it was 4-all and Williams was serving down, 15-40.
Williams erased the first break point with a backhand winner down the line, and the second with a 106-miles-per hour second serve that went right at Konta’s body. It was a risky strategy, going for so much pace on a second serve, but it worked. That opened a run in which Williams won 12 of 13 points.
Konta played quite well, especially early, and finished with more winners, 20 to 19, each greeted by roars from the Centre Court spectators.
In the other semifinal, Muguruza won 15 of the first 20 points en route to a 5-0 lead. Even though Rybarikova entered having won 18 of her past 19 grass-court matches, mostly at lower-level tournaments, she suddenly looked a lot more like someone whose career record at Wimbledon before last week was 2-9.
‘‘Not my best day,’’ Rybarikova said. ‘‘But she didn’t give me much chance to do something.’’
Tom Brady always toughs it out, but toughing it out doesn’t always yield the most positive results.Continue reading »
The first-year analyst, who will work another Patriots game this weekend, was an instant and colossal hit this season.Continue reading »
Jacksonville ranked second in the NFL with a 76.9 percent success rate, converting 10 of 13.Continue reading »
The second baseman hopes to be ready for Opening Day but the team wants him to take it slow.Continue reading »
As the logjam among free agent persists, no news is not good news.Continue reading »
With Kyrie Irving out, Boston was done in by poor shooting and turnovers.Continue reading »
The Jaguars running back was rear-ended by a Steelers fan and then was asked to autograph a fallen bumper.Continue reading »
The team’s new manager has been busy meeting with players as spring training approaches.Continue reading »
Bergeron led the way with his third career hat trick as Bruins extended point streak to 15 games.Continue reading »