Top seed and defending champion Serena Williams and her older sister Venus Williams both advanced to the semifinals of Wimbledon 2016 with victories Tuesday.

Venus and Serena Williams Advance To Wimbledon Semifinals, Kei Nishikori Pulls Out

The Williams sisters will be joined by German fourth-seed Angelique Kerber and surprise winner Elena Vesnina of Russia.

Tenth-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych also won on Tuesday, defeating countryman Jiri Vesely 4-6, 6-3, 7-6, 6-7, 6-3 in the final men’s fourth-round game.

Venus Williams, who never seemed to stop fighting despite health issues, hadn’t reached a Grand Slam semifinal since 2010. She reached the quarterfinals just twice in her previous 19 major appearances. The eighth-seeded American defeated Russian-born Kazakhstani Yaroslava Shvedova 7-6, 6-2 Tuesday. Venus, 36, played smart tennis to eliminate Shvedova with 15 winners and just 12 unforced errors.


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“I love playing the game,” Venus said afterwards. “I always have. Of course, winning matches it makes it much sweeter. The wins and the losses always lead to these big moments, unless you’re Serena Williams. But as Venus Williams, this is an awesome day.”

Meanwhile, 34-year-old Serena continued her excellent playing, defeating No. 21 Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4, 6-4. Pavlyuchenkova, 25, also played well despite the loss. She tallied 16 winners with only nine unforced errors. However, the top-seeded American overpowered her with 29 winners and 11 aces.

Serena Williams will next face Vesnina, who defeated 19th-seeded Slovak Dominika Cibulkova 6-2, 6-2 on Tuesday. Venus Williams, meanwhile, will face Kerber, who eliminated fifth-ranked Romanian Simona Halep 7-5, 7-6.  Both semifinals will take place on Thursday.

Berdych will play 22-year-old Frenchman Lucas Pouille (No. 32) in the men’s quarterfinals. The other three quarterfinals are Andy Murray against 12th-seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, sixth-seeded Canadian Milos Raonic against 28th-ranked American Sam Querrey, and Roger Federer against ninth-ranked Croatian Marin Cilic, who won the 2014 U.S. Open.

Japanese fifth seed Kei Nishikori pulled out of Wimbledon in agony on Monday midway through his last-16 match against Cilic, overcome by the pain from his rib injury.

Nishikori, 26, looked completely out of sorts on Court Two and consulted the trainer and doctor before finally throwing in the towel at 6-1, 5-1 down in the fourth round contest.

The rib problem also forced him out of the Halle grass-court warm-up tournament ahead of Wimbledon.

“It’s the same injury that I had in the first match in Halle. It’s not been recovering well these two weeks,” Nishikori said.

“After the third round, it got worse. I was hoping to get better, but it was too much pain. So I couldn’t really compete.

“I was thinking about it in the second set,” he said of his withdrawal.

Seventh-seeded Frenchman Richard Gasquet also withdrew from Wimbledon after losing his opening set 4-2 against Tsonga in the fourth round on Monday. Tsonga helped the 30-year-old Gasquet, who appeared to be suffering from a back injury, carry his bags off the court following the match.

PHOTO: LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 05: Venus Williams of The United States plays a forehand during the Ladies Singles Quarter Finals match against Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan on day eight of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 5, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

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