Venus Williams defeated fellow American Coco Vanderweghe for a chance at the Grand Slam title in Melbourne. The 36-year-old Venus will face her sister, Serena, who beat Croatian Mirjana Lucic-Baroni in the semifinals.
The older Williams sister beat Vanderweghe with a 6-7 (3), 6-2, 6-3 victory on Thursday, with Vanderweghe converting only one of 13 break points during the match.
"It means so much, mostly because she played so well. I mean, she played so unbelievable," Williams said of the 25-year-old, who was playing her first major semifinal.
Venus will now face her sister again in the Australian Open final. The 35-year-old Serena bested Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, the Croatian player who earned her place in the semifinals with a stunning victory over Czech Karolina Pliskova.
"I just feel like no matter what happens, we've won," Serena said on Thursday, commenting on the upcoming final against her sister. "She's been through a lot, I've been through a lot."
"She's my toughest opponent - nobody has ever beaten me as much as Venus has," she added.
This is the first Grand Slam final for Venus since Wimbledon in 2009. The last final she played in Melbourne was in 2003, when she lost to her sister.
"It's more than a cherry on top," Venus said on earning her place in the final. "It's more than I dreamed of."
Nadal praises rival
In the male singles category, Rafael Nadal was due to play the rising Bulgarian star Grigor Dmitrov, who is coming off a tournament victory in Brisbane. While Nadal holds an impressive 7-1 head-to-head lead over Dimitrov, he was defeated by the 25-year-old Bulgarian in Bejing less than four months ago.
"He's a player that has an unbelievable talent, unbelievable potential," Nadal said in Australia.
"It's going to be a very tough match for me. I hope for him, too," he added. "I'm going to try to play my best because I know he's playing with high confidence."
Competing in male doubles, American brothers Bob and Mike Bryan came closer to their seventh Australian Open title after beating Pablo Carreno Busta and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez on Thursday.