It was one, two and three for the ages as Venus and Serena Williams set up another all-sisters Australian Open final and Roger Federer ensured he’ll contend for another Grand Slam title.
They’re calling it Throwback Thursday at Melbourne Park: three players who can combine for 46 Grand Slam titles and 106 years in age advanced to the finals.
Serena Williams overwhelmed Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 6-2, 6-1 in the second of women’s semifinals, after Venus Williams beat fellow American CoCo Vandeweghe 6-7 (3), 6-2, 6-3.
Now, the only person standing between 35-year-old Serena Williams and an Open-era record 23rd Grand Slam title is her 36-year-old sister, the oldest player to reach an Australian Open women’s final in the modern era — and, for that matter, any major since Martina Navratilova at Wimbledon in 1994.
“I felt like it was in my hands to force this Williams final,” Serena Williams said. “I was feeling a little pressure about that, but it felt really good to get that win.”
At 35, Federer is the oldest man to reach a Grand Slam final since Ken Rosewall made the 1974 U.S. Open final aged 39.
Federer had a 7-5, 6-3, 1-6, 4-6, 6-3 win in an all-Swiss semifinal against Stan Wawrinka, who has won three majors — the Australian in 2014, the French in 2015 and the U.S. Open last year — since Federer captured the last of his record 17, at Wimbledon in 2012.
Wawrinka broke his racket over his knee in the second set. He needed a medical timeout before the third, and rallied to force Federer to five for the first time ever before double-faulting to give up the vital break in the sixth game.
Federer, returning from six months out to rest his injured left knee, made no mistake in closing out. He will next play Sunday against the winner of Friday’s semifinal between 14-time major winner Rafael Nadal and Grigor Dimitrov.
With the Williams locked in for Saturday night, local sentiment is rising for another Roger-Rafa bout on Sunday.