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I deserve this, says Venus, as she reaches Melbourne semis

Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia - 24/1/17 Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova reacts during her Women's singles quarter-final match against Venus Williams of the U.S. . REUTERS/Issei Kato
Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia - 24/1/17 Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova reacts during her Women's singles quarter-final match against Venus Williams of the U.S. . REUTERS/Issei Kato

By Melanie Burton

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Venus Williams said she was by no means finished yet after swatting aside Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to march into the semi-finals of the Australian Open for the first time since 2003 on Tuesday.

Nineteen years after making her Australian Open debut, the 36-year-old cashed in on the experience of 73 grand slams to set up a meeting with another 25-year-old in fellow American Coco Vandeweghe.

"To me, the semi-finals is a stepping stone, just like the other rounds," she said.

"It's an opportunity to advance. The tournament is by no means over. It's definitely down to the business end.

"I feel like I'm playing the kind of tennis I want to produce the results that I want."

A title tilt against her sister Serena is still on the cards if she gets past Vandeweghe but for all her patriotism and sisterly love, Venus is thinking only of herself.

"Should I look across the net and believe the person across the net deserves it more?" she asked. "This mentality is not how champions are made. I'd like to be a champion, in particular this year.

"The mentality I walk on court with is: I deserve this."

The 13th seed has stretched an impressive return to form that began with a quarter-final berth here in 2015 and included a run to the Wimbledon semi-finals last year.

Palyuchenkova was impressed.

"It was kind of surprising for me how in great form she is now," she said.

"Like, she's playing good, moving well, very solid on the baseline, very aggressive. Of course, she's serving well.

"She just also wasn't giving me much of a rhythm because she was either making winners or easy mistakes. So that was not easy for me."

Venus, who wrapped up a victory against Vandeweghe in two sets at their first meet in Rome last year, is expecting a battle of power and strength.

"To have that thought that there's going to be at least one U.S. player in the final is great for American tennis," Venus said.

"I'm sure she's going to want to be in her first final. I'm going to want to be in only my second final here. So it's going to be a well-contested match."

(Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

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