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Wednesday, 12 July 2017 15:23 PM BST
Venus's singular achievement
Venus Williams played her 100th Wimbledon singles match this week and could yet be champion for a sixth time READ MORE

The first Wimbledon match Venus Williams played, she lost. But even that was an upset as the 17-year-old Williams, ranked No.59, bowed out in three sets to Poland's Magdalena Gryzbowska - ranked No.91 - in the opening round of The Championships in 1997.

Gryzbowska went on to lose in the third round but Williams was upbeat about her future at Wimbledon, telling reporters: “I have many more to come. I think I’ll do better as the years go along.”

Ten years later, in 2007, Williams won her fourth of five Wimbledon ladies' singles titles. She dropped just two sets the entire tournament and lost 18 games in her last three matches. She would win again in 2008, the last time she lifted the Venus Rosewater Dish on Centre Court. In a country of royals, she was the Queen of Wimbledon.

On Tuesday, Williams played her 100th singles match at the All England Club. She won it to record an 86th victory in what has turned into a 20-year career at this event. Her last three opponents were all born in 1997 - two of them after she made her Wimbledon debut.

There was a time in tennis that 37 years old was viewed as ancient. You might as well be 86. Or 100, for that matter. But Venus has never played by those kind of rules. In a way, she has always existed on Planet Venus - population: one. She has sung her own tune and perfected her own craft. For fans, it could be infuriating at times.

Now it's endearing, Venus enduring. She is into the semi-finals at Wimbledon for the second straight year. Last year was the first time she has lost in that round in nine appearances. 

It’s unbelievable that she’s still out there. She’s such an inspiration. I think it’s wonderful

- Justine Henin

“I have great respect for Venus in her career,” said Justine Henin, the seven-time Grand Slam winner who lost to Williams in the 2001 final. “It’s unbelievable that she’s still out there. She’s such an inspiration. I think it’s wonderful.”

It would be an upset if Venus beat Johanna Konta in the semi-finals, by ranking and by simple physicality. It's Venus' 10th time in the last four, however, so the occasion shouldn't faze the American.

Is this her last Wimbledon semi-final? Probably not. But 100 matches to get this far is a feat that is out of this world.

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