London: The Williams family ensured they will have another Wimbledon trophy to take home but Britain will have to wait at least another year after Tim Henman crashed out of the men’s singles on Thursday.
Henman had no complaints after being outplayed 7-6, 3-6, 3-6, 4-6 by France’s Sebastien Grosjean in his quarter final and admitted his chance of becoming the first British winner since Fred Perry in 1936 could now have gone.
“I think my chances are getting less — but it still won’t stop me coming back and trying. If you don’t believe in yourself you’ve got no shot,” the 28-year-old said.
For the second straight year at Wimbledon and the sixth time in all the Grand Slams, Saturday’s women’s final will be contested by defending champion Serena Williams and her sister Venus, the 2000 and 2001 champion.
Venus had to battle with a stomach injury and a feisty Kim Clijsters before coming back to win her semi-final 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 in one hour 40 minutes.
It was an extraordinary performance from Williams, who managed to find an extra gear in the final set despite obviously being in some pain.
Serena had earlier booked her place in the final by beating Justine Henin-Hardenne 6-3, 6-2.
Venus admitted after the match that an hour-long rain break after the first game of the second set had given her a precious chance to compose herself at a time when worries about the injury were threatening to overwhelm her.
“I’m just so happy to have made it through the match,” she said.
“I couldn’t calm myself down so I think the rain saved me.”
Asked if she thought she would be fit enough to put up a fight in the final, she replied: “I hope, I’m praying and I’m going to do what I can.”
But Williams insisted it was not a case of sweet revenge.
“She’s a nice girl,” she said. “You guys just want to make a mountain out of a molehill, and in this case there’s not even a molehill.”
Williams did however admit that the trauma she suffered in Paris had stiffened her resolve to retain her title here.
“I went home and worked a little harder than normal. I can’t stay at home and watch the Golden Girls all day!”
Henin-Hardenne, who refused to be drawn into the controversy which marred her Paris success, blamed a bad start for her demise.
“I think I had a really bad start in the match and she was really aggressive — much better than me. She was just too good today. I was nervous at the beginning of the match. It’s harder than playing her on claycourt.”
Grosjean’s reward for beating Henman was a semi-final meeting with Australia’s Mark Philippoussis, who completed a fightback from two sets down to beat German surprise package Alexander Popp 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 8-6.
Tournament favourite Andy Roddick will face Switzerland’s Roger Federer in the other semis.
With both their quarter finals held over from Wednesday and then delayed for another two and a half hours, Roddick and Federer both seemed determined to finish things off.
Roddick was first back into the locker room after a 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 demolition of Swedish veteran Jonas Bjorkman. But Federer had swiftly joined him after cruising through his match with Dutchman Sjeng Schalken 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 to reach the first Grand Slam semi-final of his career.
Men’s semi-final line up: Philippoussis vs Grosjean; Roddick vs Federer (AFP)