July 1, 2008 / 7:39 PM / 11 years ago

Venus spellbound eight years on

LONDON (Reuters) - It has been eight years since Venus Williams won the first of her grand slam titles at Wimbledon and the American said some things never changed.

Venus Williams of the U.S. returns the ball to Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand during their quarter-finals match at the Wimbledon tennis championships in London July 1, 2008. REUTERS/Toby Melville

As Williams stood just two games away from winning a fifth Rosewater Dish, she tried to recall what she was doing during her maiden Wimbledon title charge.

“I’m not sure what that girl in 2000 was thinking,” seventh seed Williams said after dispatching Thailand’s Tamarine Tanasugarn 6-4 6-3 in the quarter-finals on Tuesday.

“I think she was reading a Harry Potter book. The 28-year-old Venus also reads the Harry Potter book, so not much has changed. It’s still good times, and I love that,” she grinned.

This year Williams, who also owns two U.S. Open trophies, has sliced through the draw to reach the last four for the seventh time.

The mass exodus from this year’s championships, where none of the top four seeds reached the last eight, has meant that Williams has enjoyed trouble-free passage to the last eight.

It has come as little surprise that she has yet to drop a set since her five opponents have been ranked 197th, 92nd, 101st, 42nd and 60th.

So high has been her confidence, Williams knows every time she steps on court her serves will cut through the slick grass and her groundstrokes, less effective on red clay, will strike fear into most opponents.

“I have a lot of power, so it helps,” grinned Williams, who is bidding to join a select handful of players — including Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf — who have won at least five singles titles at Wimbledon.

“I’m aggressive, so that helps a ton. The ball’s gonna go through the court if you’re moving forward. My serve is very difficult to return on this surface. Once it bounces, it’s just going even faster maybe. So I think all those factors help a ton.”

The American will face her first seeded-opponent, number five Elena Dementieva, in the semi-finals on Thursday it is unlikely that the Russian will be able to derail her title hopes.

Depite being the favourite to reach the final, Williams did not want to take victory for granted.

“It’s nice to be favourite, that’s for sure. But I’m gonna go out there and work just as hard as if I was or if I wasn’t the favourite,” said Williams, who could meet younger sister Serena in Saturday’s finale.

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