Venus sets up all-undefeated title match

Venus Williams survived Jelena Jankovic 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 in the semifinals of the year-end Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha, Qatar on Saturday. Williams, who went undefeated in group play, will meet Vera Zvonareva in Sunday’s final. Zvonareva is also without a loss this week.

Williams dismantled sister Serena on Thursday and she used that momentum to get off to blistering start against Jankovic. The American took set one with ease, but she seemed to go away from her game-plan as Jankovic started to dictate play in the second.

A decisive third set was closer than the score indicated. Williams went up an early break but had to save five break points in order to consolidate it for a 4-2 lead. She held serve the rest of the way to secure the victory.

“My game is about being aggressive and taking chances,” Williams said, and that’s exactly what she did in sets one and three.

Despite the loss, Jankovic¬† will hold onto her No. 1 ranking and finish the year in the top spot. “I can go to vacation with a smile on my face,” said the Serb. “It will be really weird not to have my rackets with me.”

Williams and Jankovic were preceded by an all-Russian affair between Zvonareva and Elena Dementieva. Zvonareva emerged victorious over the Gold medal winner 7-6(7), 3-6, 6-3. An emotional first-set tiebreaker saw Zvonareva blow a 5-1 lead before saving a set point en route to a 9-7 win.

Zvonareva is producing her best tennis at just the right time before the conclusion of 2009. A baseline slugfest, not unlike the two semifinal showdowns, will be in store again on Sunday. Williams has won the last five encounters with Zvonareva and that should give her a slight edge.