One-time Aussie stands in way of Williams' tilt at title
TENNIS: Venus Williams stands on the brink of tennis immortality after swamping French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals.
At 37 years and 29 days, five-time champion Williams is the oldest player to reach this stage since Martina Navratilova (37 years, 258 days) in 1994.
Contesting Wimbledon for the 20th time, Williams advanced to the last four for the 10th time with a 6-3 7-5 victory over erratic Ostapenko.
And if the American adds to titles in 2000-01, '05 and '07-8, she will become the second oldest champion in Wimbledon history.
Only Charlotte Cooper Sterry, who was 37 years and 282 days in 1908, would be more senior.
Beaten in January's Australian Open final by pregnant younger sister Serena, Williams has not won a major in nine years.
But despite the stress of a wrongful-death lawsuit stemming from her involvement in a fatal car accident last month, Williams has been spectacular over the past 10 days.
With eight aces, 13 winners and 15 unforced errors, Williams was too solid for the impetuous Ostapenko.
Williams will face Sydney-born Johanna Konta in her semi after she denied Simona Halep the world No.1 ranking.
Konta, who defected from Australia five years ago, is the first British woman to reach the last four at Wimbeldon since Virginia Wade in 1978 after a 6-7 (2-7) 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 win over Halep.
Just as she had in the French Open final, Halep controlled the contest - only to subside as victory beckoned.
For the second time in a month, Halep's chance to claim the No.1 ranking crumbled in the face of spirited opposition and nerves.
Halep's defeat meant she lost her chance to succeed Angelique Kerber as world No.1.
Czech Karolina Pliskova, who was beaten in the second round, moves to the top spot.
Halep, coached by Australian Darren Cahill, led the breaker 3-1 and appeared to have the necessary impetus to succeed.
But she was overhauled by the resolute Konta, who then broke her in the fifth game of the deciding set and steadfastly bore down on victory.
"Right now it's a little bit surreal," Konta said.
"It's incredible how quickly things go in tennis. I'm definitely digesting things a little bit still.
"I definitely felt very clear on what I was trying to achieve out there. I was trying to create as many opportunities as possible.
"I knew she wouldn't give me much for free."
Konta, whose parents decided the family should move to Europe to accelerate her tennis career, said she had been dreaming big since she was nine years old.
The right-hander represented Australia as a junior before moving to the UK when she was 14.
Konta continued under the Australian flag until becoming a British citizen in 2012.
Konta's sister Eva is married to Greater Western Sydney ruckman Shane Mumford.
Tomorrow night's semi-finals:-
14-Garbine Muguruza (Spa) v Magdalena Rybarikova ((Svk)
10-Venus Williams (US) v 6-Johanna Konta (GBR)