WIMBLEDON, England -- A few years back, tennis started to dislike the Williams sisters. They were irrepressible. They were unbeatable. And they certainly weren't humble.
They were too much of a good thing for too long a time, and those who weren't bored with them were jealous of them.
|Venus and Serena both have designs on this title. (Getty Images)|
Four women left in singles this 2008 Wimbledon, and two of them are named Williams: Venus, a 6-4, 6-3 winner over Tamarine Tanasugarn in a quarterfinal on Court 1, then a little while later Serena, a 6-4, 6-0 winner over a stunned Agnieszka Radwanska.
In Thursday's semis, Venus faces Elena Dementieva, who failed to repeat her French Open collapse, despite blowing a 5-1 lead in the second set, and beat Nadia Petrova 6-1, 6-7, 6-3.
Serena will play Jie Zheng of China, the first wild card in Wimbledon history to reach the semis. Zheng was a 6-2, 5-7, 6-1 winner over Nicole Vaidisova.
Once, Venus and Serena were the best women's tennis had to offer, when their bodies didn't betray them, when they kept their minds on the job at hand.
Now they are healthy. And determined. Now they are slashing their way toward a final that seems inevitable, a final that will call down the echoes.
"Time flies," said Serena. "I feel like 2001 was just two years ago, but it wasn't. But I always expect to be here."
For seven of the last eight Wimbledons, a Williams has been there in the last match. Six of those eight, a Williams has been the winner: 2000 Venus, 2001 Venus, 2002 Serena, 2003 Serena, 2005 Venus and 2007 Venus. In '02 and '03 Serena defeated Venus.
And if they both advance to Saturday's final this time?
"I'm going to sabotage her," Serena said good-naturedly, "and eat all her breakfast. I'll eat the Wheaties, so she doesn't have a chance. If we get that far."