Serena has been the most prolific Grand Slam winner after age 30 in tennis history, and she is back in rare form again after another extended break at the end of 2016. She disconnected completely from the game and physical training initially and had to push hard to get back in shape in November and December.
It worked. She has not dropped a set here despite a challenging draw, nor has she even been pushed to a tiebreaker. Newly engaged to the American technology entrepreneur Alexis Ohanian, who has watched her matches from the players box, and seemingly refreshed, Serena deserves to be the favorite to win her 23rd major singles title and break her tie with Steffi Graf for the highest total in the Open era.
In this tournament, Serena has beaten two former members of the top 10 — Belinda Bencic and Lucie Safarova — and one current member, the in-form No. 9 seed Johanna Konta. Venus’s draw has been soft by comparison, devoid of top 10 players — past or present — and including only one seeded player: No. 24 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
On Thursday, she had to scrap and come back to win, 6-7 (3), 6-2, 6-3, against the powerful unseeded American CoCo Vandeweghe, while…