Fifth seed Venus Williams of the United States scored an exhilarating three-set upset win over Swiss top seed Martina Hingis Tuesday to book a semifinal clash with younger sister Serena.
Venus triumphed 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in a classic quarterfinal lasting two-and-a-quarter hours, which had the Center Court crowd transfixed as she battled past the 1997 champion and favorite.
Titleholder Lindsay Davenport endured a thriller of her own as she needed three sets to end the dreams of fellow American Monica Seles, finally winning 6-7 (4/7), 6-4, 6-0 in 1hr 54min.
Second seed Davenport will now meet Australian teenager Jelena Dokic, who ousted Magui Serna of Spain 6-3, 6-2.
Venus ended her epic in majestic style with an ace and now faces eighth seed Serena, who earlier crushed unseeded fellow-American Lisa Raymond 6-2, 6-0 in just 40 minutes.
"Once we got into a rally I felt like I was in control," said Venus afterwards. When I hit the ace it was a great way to end it.
"I didn't play my best - I played O.K. But I got the job done."
Hingis, a shock first-round loser to Dokic 12 months ago, saw a lack of concentration coupled with ineffectual serving prove her downfall.
In the opening set, Williams relied on her booming serve, which rained down on average some 30 kph faster than those of her opponents, regularly passing the 160 kph mark.
Hingis led their career series 9-5 going into the match but the pair had never met previously on grass.
"I don't think anything went wrong. She just played a good match," said Hingis. "She was probably a little bit more hungry," admitted the 19-year-old.
Venus, who signaled her intentions by breaking for 2-0 in the opening set, came into the tournament with precious little match practice behind her after six months out with tendonitis in both wrists - though she did make the quarters at the French Open a month ago.
Wimbledon is only her fourth tournament of the year.
The gangling star, who played with both wrists heavily bandaged, made it third time lucky after losing in the quarters here in both of the past two years.
"It was a good win for me because I've never advanced past the quarter-finals. I've had a tough year," she said.
Asked about tackling her sister, Venus said: "Serena is an extremely powerful player - she knows everything I know. But as a competitor I always want to advance no matter who I play."
Hingis broke back for 2-1 but she could not stem the Williams momentum as the American wrapped up the first set in 37min with a backhand winner and an ace.
In the second set Hingis had two set points at 5-3 but Venus broke her to get back on serve, only to concede her own service to take the match into a decider which saw five straight breaks before Williams held for a 4-2 lead.
And although Hingis managed to bring through two more service games, her rival still had more in reserve and won to love, finishing the contest with her eighth ace.
Serena earlier squashed Raymond, blasting 21 outright winners to Raymond's one, and nine aces.
She concluded a 16-minute second set by thumping down two aces.
"It's very exciting. Today was one of the best matches I've played in my career so far," said Serena.
On facing Venus she added: It's exciting for our whole family.
"I've not really played her that much. It's just another meeting between both of us," said Serena, who regretted that the pair could not have met in the final.
Davenport meanwhile saw a pair of break points get away in the first set which Seles, winner of nine Grand Slam titles but none here, took on the tiebreak.
But the champion stormed back and could afford to fritter away nine break points in the sixth game of the second set.
She missed two more in the eighth game but a Seles error finally saw the first break of serve of the match.
No sooner had 24-year-old Davenport got her nose in front, than Seles snapped up her own first break with a rasping double-handed cross court return.
But the Yugoslav-born Seles dropped serve again as Davenport leveled the match at one-set all.
The third saw Davenport rise to new heights as she broke for 2-0.
With her rival's morale shattered, Davenport cruised through the remaining four games.
"I'm so happy to get through to the semis. I'm proud of the way I hung in there," said Davenport.
"I held my nerve together to stay focused to pull it out. I feel like my confidence is getting stronger."
Semi-final opponent Dokic was ecstatic at improving on last year's debut showing of a run to the last eight as she easily removed Serna.
"To reach two semis in a row is great - especially in a tournament that I love so much. I always seem to play well here," said the poised 17-year-old – (AFP)
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