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After best Wimbledon since ’09, Venus Williams vows return

SHARE After best Wimbledon since ’09, Venus Williams vows return

LONDON — Even if this was Venus Williams' best Wimbledon in quite a while, it did not end the way she had hoped.

A five-time champion at the All England Club, Williams made it to the semifinals for the first time since 2009, losing at that stage Thursday to No. 4 Angelique Kerber 6-4, 6-4.

"I did a lot of what I wanted to do. Definitely wanted to do more today, try to arrive to Saturday," said Williams, referring to the day of the women's singles final. "But a lot of positives. Of course, I'd like to continue to play this way."

Since revealing in 2011 that she had been diagnosed with Sjongren's syndrome, which can cause joint pain and fatigue, Williams had a half-dozen losses in the first round at major tournaments — and zero appearances in the semifinals.

At 36, she was the oldest woman in the field at Wimbledon.

But for the past 1½ weeks, Williams looked once again like a player who opponents need to be worried about.

And she wound up as the oldest woman in the final four at a major since 1994.

Entering the semifinal, Williams had a chance to set up a final against her younger sister Serena, who beat Elena Vesnina 6-2, 6-0 earlier in the day. It would have been their ninth meeting in a Grand Slam title match, and fifth at Wimbledon, but first in seven years.

"I just think it was a missed opportunity here," said Venus' coach, David Witt. "She could've easily been in the finals, and then in the finals, all it takes is one good match of unbelievable tennis and you just don't know what happens."

Against Kerber, though, Venus showed signs of being wiped out.

Her serve didn't have its usual sting, and she was broken five times.

"I'm sure she's not happy with her performance," Witt said, adding: "I really don't think Venus ever really settled down in the match and felt comfortable."

After the singles semifinals, the Williams siblings headed back out on court for their doubles quarterfinal, beating Vesnina and Ekaterina Makarova 7-6 (1), 4-6, 6-2.

Venus and Serena have won 13 Grand Slam titles as a pair, including five at Wimbledon, most recently in 2012.

So this stay at the All England Club — her 19th appearance — is not quite over for Venus.

After the long day, with one loss and one victory, Venus was asked whether she will return for a 20th Wimbledon.

"I would love to. It's all in the plans," she responded. "If it's different, I'll be sure to let you know."

Freelance writer Sandra Harwitt contributed.

Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich