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Venus Williams delighted to roll back the years in Australian Open glory bid

By Tom Allnutt

Venus Williams posted another triumph for the old guard at the Australian Open by beating Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to reach her 21st Grand Slam semi-final.

Williams, at 36, is the oldest singles player in the women's draw at Melbourne Park but she rolled back the years on Rod Laver Arena to beat 24th seed Pavlyuchenkova 6-4 7-6 (7-3).

The win puts Williams into the last four here for the first time in 14 years and continues a resurgence for the American, who has now made the semis twice in her last three Grand Slams.

She is the oldest woman to get this far at the Australian Open since the start of the Open era.

Williams' progress also adds another chapter to something of a fairytale tournament for the game's senior stars, after Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, 35 and 30 respectively, both made the semi-finals of the men's draw.

Williams will now play Coco Vandeweghe, who beat seventh seed Garbine Muguruza, in an all-American semi-final.

"I'm so excited," Williams said. "It was such a hard-fought match, she never let up. We've always had quality matches and I knew this would be nothing less.

"It's wonderful to be here to start the year out - I want to go further. I'm so happy to be in a position to go further."

Williams' run is all the more remarkable given the Australian Open has never been her strongest Grand Slam. The seven-time Major champion has lost in the third round or earlier in five of her last seven attempts and retired in Auckland earlier this month through injury.

"It wasn't the easiest start to the year," Williams said. "To be here with an opportunity to go further, it's like, 'oh my god'."

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