Venus Williams (Player Profile) is turning back the clock this week in Tokyo.
The 8-time Grand Slam champion picked up upset wins over top seed Victoria Azarenka, 13th seed Simona Halep and rising Canadian star Eugenie Bouchard en route to the semifinals. Not only did she perform at a remarkable level, she also managed to break her own service record of 207.605km/h with a 209.054km/h serve in the 8th game of the opening set against Bouchard.
While Williams was in top form during the match, Bouchard also played at a high level and slugged it out with the former world no. 1. The Canadian broke early in the match, winning three consecutive games before Venus rallied to win the following six games to take the set 6-3. The second set saw Williams break ahead but Bouchard was not prepared to quit and forced the set back on serve and into a deciding tiebreak, which she eventually won in remarkable fashion.
Williams’s consistent gameplay and shot-making throughout the night was the deciding factor as she eventually outlasted Eugenie to win the match 6-3, 7-6, 6-3.
“Wow, she played so well, she’s going to be a great player – she already is a great player,” Williams said after the match. “I was just competing out there today, just fighting until the end. It was disappointing to lose the second set, but to win the third set is the goal, so I’m happy I did that.”
Williams will face Petra Kvitova in the semifinals after Kvitova beat Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4, 6-1. Having not made the quarterfinal of the Toray Pan Pacific Open since 2004, this already marks Venus’s best performance at the tournament.