all-williams final looms

LONDON - Serena Williams would love to face sister Venus in Saturday's Wimbledon final because there is nobody the former champion would rather lose to.

LONDON - Serena Williams would love to face sister Venus in Saturday's Wimbledon final because there is nobody the former champion would rather lose to.

The Americans moved a step closer to a third all-Williams final at the All England Club with convincing quarterfinal victories on Tuesday.

If Serena can beat China's Zheng Jie and Venus sees off Elena Dementieva in the semifinals today, then the rosewater dish awarded to the winner of the women's singles will definitely be held aloft by a Williams again for the seventh time.

The prospect of watching an opponent take the trophy from her would normally be too painful to contemplate for Serena. But she knows the feeling won't be so bad if Venus is the one who beats her.

"It definitely hurts less to lose to her. I'll be bitter, but at the end of the day it's a lot easier than losing to someone that I feel I should normally beat," Serena said.

If they do meet in the final, whoever wins won't be overdoing the celebrations.

"Well, I never went too crazy after any of my grand slam wins. I've kind of always just been kind of reserved. After I win I feel like I have another match, so I'm always still focused. It's a weird sensation," Serena said.

As defending champion, Venus is slightly favoured by the bookmakers to retain the title, but past experience of all-Williams finals suggests otherwise and Serena is siding with history.

The pair have met in six grand slam finals and Serena has dominated, winning five to Venus' one, including two at Wimbledon in 2002 and 2003.

"I would never sit here and say she's the favourite when I'm still in the draw," Serena said.

"She won last year. Maybe that has something to do with it. But I'm not going to sit here and say she's the favourite when I'm still in the tournament.

"That's not me. I always believe that I'm the favourite. Even if I'm not the favourite, I'm always going to believe that I am.

"I'm definitely more expressive with my competitive spirit. Venus is definitely competitive, but more low key, where I'm more out there.

"It's kind of always been like that. She's always been a little more quiet and I've been a little more outgoing personality wise."

Though Wimbledon is already gearing up for another sister act in the final, both players insist the possibility has not been mentioned over the breakfast table at the house they share near the club.

Venus said: "No it's not been mentioned because we don't really talk about tennis a lot.

"The most we talk about tennis is when we're on the doubles court.

We discuss the strategy and pump each other up." Serena added: "We don't necessarily talk about tennis too much. We talk about everything else.

"But if we do play I'm going to sabotage her and eat all the breakfast. I'll eat all the Wheaties so she doesn't have any chance!" - Sapa-AFP

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