Venus brings all-Williams final closer
Venus Williams of the USA celebrates after beating Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark in their semi-final tennis match during the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on February 21, 2014 - by Marwan Naamani
Venus sealed her place in the final with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Caroline Wozniacki, in which she dominated the former world number one from Denmark from start to finish with her heavier, and sometimes cleverly angled, driving.
Once again it suggested that the 33-year-old seven times former Grand Slam champion, who is still ranked outside the top 40, may be making her way back - after prolonged health problems - to a position where she could be seeded in major events.
"To come into a tournament with such a strong draw and to play a former number one now and get through is a wonderful result," said Venus.
Asked why she was doing better now than she had last year, she answered: "I have had an opportunity to play more, and I have paid with my losses for these wins."
The doubts have been whether Venus, who still battles against the side effects of an immune deficiency, has regained the endurance to produce back-to-back wins, and, although she has yet to be taken to three sets, the evidence is hopeful.
She made the ideal start, breaking Wozniacki's serve in the first game, and consolidating it with a hold, despite having trouble landing her first delivery as often as she might have liked.
But breaks of serve became commonplace, and the match often hinged on who could get the best blow in first in the rallies, something which Venus still very well equipped to do.
Wozniacki, who has been in good form herself this week at a tournament she has won before, lacked consistency on the forehand wing early on, and was twice unable to snatch game points which might have placed more score pressure upon her free-hitting opponent.
Twice her father coach Piotr came on court to offer some of his demonstrative advice, but it did not halt the direction of the match.
This accelerated after Venus had clinched the first set after a game of three deuces by punishing her opponent's second serve.
She then took the first three games of the second set, and there seemed little chance that Wozniacki would turn it around after that. The end came with a flurry of typically fierce drives which Wozniacki could not contain.
It left Venus's younger sister Serena Williams just needing to beat Alize Cornet, the world number 26 from France, to make it an all-Williams final for the first time since they met in the WTA Championships in Doha in October 2009.