Wimbledon : Five-time winner Venus Williams ended Johanna Konta’s hopes of becoming the first British woman to reach the Wimbledon final for 40 years.
The nation’s hopes were resting on Konta after defending champion Andy Murray crashed out of the tournament, losing to American Sam Querrey on Wednesday, and spectators on Centre Court waved Union Jack flags and cheered for the last Briton standing in the singles competition.
Konta was aiming to write her name into Wimbledon folklore as she looked to become the first Briton into the women’s final since Virginia Wade won the title in 1977, but the American had other ideas by pulling off a masterful 6-4 6-2 win in 73 minutes.
Victory helped Williams reach her ninth Wimbledon final and first since 2009, a year after she won at the All England Club for the most recent of her seven Grand Slam titles.
Konta, playing in only her second major semi-final, squandered two opportunities to break the veteran’s serve in the ninth game before Williams broke the home favourite in the final game to take the opening set 6-4 after 38 minutes.
The 37-year-old was demonstrating a sublime display of power-hitting and clinically broke her opponent’s resistance in the fourth game of the second set before a solid hold of serve enabled her to inch closer.
And Williams became the oldest Wimbledon finalist since Martina Navratilova in 1994 by taking her opportunity with her third match point with a crunching forehand to break for the second time and end Konta’s dream of reaching her first Grand Slam final.
Lifting the Venus Rosewater Dish would make Williams the oldest All England Club champion in the Open era, breaking her sister Serena’s record.
Standing her way next is 2016 French Open champion Garbine Muguruza, who stormed into her second Wimbledon final in three years with a 6-1 6-1 demolition of nerve-ridden Magdalena Rybarikova.