Tennis

Venus dreaming of all-Williams final

Ageless Venus Williams is daring to dream of a possible glamour Australian Open final against sister Serena, but admits they both have their work cut out to get there.

The American progressed to an amazing 37th career Grand Slam quarter-final yesterday, needing all her experience against German qualifier Mona Barthel to win 6-3, 7-5.

It sets her up against Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova for a place in the last four and, with Serena in the other side of the draw, the earliest they can meet will be the final.

Asked if she had thought about playing a ninth Grand Slam final against her sister, she replied: "That could hopefully happen. We both still have to work very hard to get there.

"Today I played a qualifier, and she hardly ever missed. So it doesn't matter who you come up against, they are coming and they want to win, too.

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"They have nothing to lose. I'm going to be focused on winning one round at a time and doing what it takes to be there."

The sisters played each other for the first time in Melbourne in 1998, with Venus coming out on top of the second-round match.

So far, they have met in eight Grand Slam deciders, with Venus winning just once, at Wimbledon in 2008.

Serena, gunning for a record-breaking 23rd major crown, faces Barbora Strycova for a place in the quarters today.

Venus' win over Barthel thrust her into the last eight for a ninth time at a tournament she is yet to win during a career that has earned her seven Grand Slam trophies, though none since the Wimbledon 2008 title.

Despite an elbow injury derailing her build-up to the opening Grand Slam of the year, Venus, who is yet to drop a set, said she was feeling fine.

"The first time I played this tournament I reached the quarter-finals, so I have done this," the 13th seed said.

"This is where you want to be, because you set yourself up to move forward, but this is not the end-all for me. This is not the end goal."

Meanwhile, Spaniard Garbine Muguruza blasted into her first Australian Open quarter-final yesterday with a resounding straight-set thumping of Sorana Cirstea.

The French Open champion and seventh seed looked in excellent form as she beat the Romanian 6-2, 6-3 on Margaret Court Arena.

She will now play American Coco Vandeweghe, who ousted world No. 1 Angelique Kerber, for a place in the semi-finals. - AFP

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