Venus Williams to face Garbine Muguruza in Wimbledon final

LONDON -- Winning never gets old for Venus Williams.

The 37-year-old American ended the hopes of Britain's Johanna Konta in the women's semifinals with a 6-4, 6-2 win on Centre Court on Thursday.

Williams will be seeking a sixth Wimbledon singles title Saturday against Garbine Muguruza, who advanced to the final at the All England Club by beating Magdalena Rybarikova 6-1, 6-1.

If Williams wins Saturday, she would be the oldest women's Grand Slam champion in the Open era (since 1968). She's the oldest women's finalist in any Grand Slam since Martina Navratilova reached the Wimbledon final in 1994.

"I've played in a lot of finals here," Williams said. "It's been a blessing. I couldn't have asked for more, but I'll ask for a little more. One more win would be amazing.

"It won't be a given, but I'm going to give it my all."

It was Konta who had the first chance to nose ahead, a point from serving for the opening set when it was 4-all and Williams was serving down 15-40.

Williams erased the first break point with a backhand winner down the line and the second with a 106 mph second serve that went right at Konta's body. It was a risky strategy, going for so much pace on a second serve, but it worked.

That opened a run in which Williams won 12 of 13 points, including breaking Konta's serve to close out the first set.

It was the first time in 20 games that Konta, who was bidding to become the first British woman to reach the Wimbledon final since Virginia Wade won in 1977, had failed to hold serve.

"She did what she does well," Konta said. "She dictated the match from the very first ball till the very last one. ... It was very difficult for me to get a good foothold in the match. The few opportunities that I did get, she did incredibly well to take them away from me."

Williams wouldn't face another break point and produced another impressive second serve in the second set, at 103 mph. It went right at Konta, who jumped out of the way.

"I don't think I did too much wrong out there," Konta said. "I think it was all credit to her."

Williams has won 12 consecutive service games entering Saturday's final, which will be her ninth at Wimbledon in singles and first since 2009.

"She played so well," Williams said of Konta. "No point was easy. I just tried to climb on top each time to get another point."

The 10th-seeded American is 9-1 in Wimbledon semifinals over 20 appearances at the grass-court major, with her only loss coming last year. She has an overall singles record of 87-14 at the All England Club and won her titles in 2000, '01, '05, '07 and '08.

Williams' most recent Grand Slam singles trophy -- her eighth -- came in 2008, when she defeated her younger sister, Serena, at Wimbledon. A year later, she lost the final to Serena.

In the time since, Williams revealed that she was diagnosed with Sjogren's syndrome, which can sap energy and cause joint pain. As time went on, there were questions about whether she might retire, especially after a half-dozen first-round losses at major tournaments. But she kept on going and lately has returned to winning.

Her resurgence began in earnest at Wimbledon a year ago, when she made it to the semifinals. Then, at the Australian Open in January, Williams reached the final, where she lost to her sister.

Serena is off the tour for the rest of this year because she is pregnant.

"I missed her so much before this match," Venus Williams said. "And I was like, 'I just wish she was here.' And I was like, 'I wish she could do this for me.'

"And I was like, 'No, this time you have to do it for yourself.' So here we are."

Muguruza, the 14th seed, will get another shot at the Wimbledon title that eluded her in 2015, when she lost to Serena Williams.

"I'll have to ask Serena for some pointers," Venus Williams said about facing Muguruza. "Serena's always in my corner. And usually it's her in these finals, so I'm trying my best to represent 'Williams' as best as I can."

Muguruza, who won the French Open in 2016, had little trouble with Rybarikova, the 87th-ranked player in the world, who was playing in the semifinals of a major tournament for the first time in her career.

The Spaniard won the first five games of the first set, facing only one break point and saving it. She then broke twice to open the second set and take a 4-0 lead.

"I think I played very well, for sure," Muguruza said. "It was a tricky match. [Rybarikova] was playing very good during the tournament, and I think today I stepped out on the court super-confident and everything went well."

Muguruza is now 3-0 in Grand Slam semifinal matches.

"I definitely want to win," Muguruza said, "no matter who is front of me."

Rybarikova entered Thursday's match with an 18-1 record on grass this season, including a run to the semifinals in Nottingham. She also won two lower-level events.

Muguruza, 23, who is playing at Wimbledon for the fifth time, has dropped the least number of games at this year's tournament, losing only 39 so far.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.