SPORTS INSIDER WEEKLY – Nationals named to National League All-Star Team; Venus and Serena Williams advance at Wimbledon


Ceci Ferrara
July 5, 2016
Sports Writer
Sports Insider

July 7 Update:  At Wimbledon on Wednesday, Angelique Kerber defeated Venus Williams, 6-4 6-4, which leaves Serena Williams to compete against Kerber in the finals.

The Williams sisters — both Serena and Venus — are at the top of Wimbledon together for the first time in a long time. Over the weekend, both players advanced to the Wimbledon quarterfinals, something they had not accomplished together in 16 years.  But they didn’t stop there. Both won matches on Tuesday to make it to the tournament’s semifinals.

While the appearance of Serena Williams, the top female tennis player in the world, is no surprise, the presence of her sister is a bit more special. At 36, Venus is the oldest major semi-finalist since Martina Navratilova finished runner-up at Wimbledon in 1994.

“Semifinals feels good,” said Williams, a five-time Wimbledon champion. “But it doesn’t feel foreign at all, let’s put it that way.”

Venus won her first Wimbledon title in 2000, and most recent in 2008, when she defeated Serena. After dominating the sport in the early 2000s, the tennis star has struggled in recent years after being diagnosed with the immune disorder Sjogren’s Disease in 2011. But on Tuesday, Williams showed she is still a high-level competitor. She recovered from an early break to win the opening set tie-break from 5-2 down before dominating the second set en route to victory.

“I love playing the game,” said Williams. “When you’re winning matches it makes it that much sweeter.”

While Venus hasn’t advanced to the semifinals in seven years, Serena is the reigning women’s Wimbledon champion. The No. 1 player was impressive in a dominant 6-4, 6-4 victory over No. 21 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Williams will next face unseeded Elena Vesnina on Thursday, who advanced by handily beating No. 19 Dominika Cibulkova 6-2, 6-2 in the quarterfinals. While nothing is a sure in sports, the match-up seems heavily tilted in Serena’s favor.

The Williams sisters are on track to meet in their fifth final, which first happened 14 years ago and most recently in 2009. Serena has a 3-1 record against her sister in Wimbledon finals, with wins in 2002, 2003 and 2009. Venus won in 2008, the most recent major victory for the 36-year old.

While Serena is happy for her sister’s Wimbledon success, if they meet each other in the finals, their familial bond won’t interfere with her competitiveness.

“It would be great if Venus could reach the final,” Serena said. “Obviously, she’s such a tough opponent. I want her to win so bad, but not if I’m in the final.”

Four Nationals named to National League All-Star Team

For just the second time in Nationals history and the first time since 2012, Washington has four players named to the 2016 National League All-Star Team.

Bryce Harper was named to his fourth consecutive All-Star team, and is the only National chosen as a starter. Second baseman Daniel Murphy and catcher Wilson Ramos were chosen as reserves, while pitcher Stephen Strasburg was elected as a member of the NL pitching staff.

While the starters for both the NL and AL teams are chosen solely by fan voting (with the exception of the NL DH, who is named by the National League team manager), the 13-man pitching staffs and reserve players are chosen by a combination of manager choice and player’s ballot.

The Nats will be well-represented during the midsummer classic, which will be held in San Diego, CA next Tuesday, July 12.


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