Venus Williams beats Roberta Vinci to reach final of Wuhan Open

WUHAN, China -- Venus Williams did what her sister Serena couldn't do, beating Roberta Vinci on Friday after saving a match point in the semifinals of the Wuhan Open.

The unseeded Williams won 5-7, 6-2, 7-6 (4) after Vinci came from 4-1 down in the final set but failed to serve out the match when leading 6-5, 40-30.

"Roberta played so well today -- she had match point -- so it was lucky for me to win this match," Williams said.

The No.15-seeded Italian sliced a backhand into the net on her match point and Williams pounced, hitting a pair of huge groundstrokes in the next two points to break back.

Williams ripped a forehand volley to go up 6-4 in the tiebreaker and clinched the victory when Vinci missed a forehand wide.

Before Friday's match, Williams, who earned her 700th career victory to reach the quarterfinals, had never dropped a set against the Italian veteran -- who ended little sister Serena's chances of a calendar-year Grand Slam in the U.S. Open semifinals.

"Definitely watching the match at the U.S. Open, I learned a lot from Serena," Williams said. "If I could, I'd give my win to Serena at the U.S. Open -- unfortunately it doesn't work like that."

The former top-ranked American will face fifth-seeded Garbine Muguruza in Saturday's final. Muguruza beat sixth-seeded Angelique Kerber 6-4, 7-6 (5).

"It was a really tough match and I had to struggle today," Muguruza said. "Venus is a legend. I'll have to go out there and do my best to win against her and I think it's going to be a great final."