Venus Williams through to Auckland WTA final - NBC Sports

Venus Williams through to Auckland WTA final
Venus Williams of the United States returns the ball against Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic during their semi-final match of the Pan Pacific Open tennis tournament in Tokyo, Friday, Sept. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)
January 2, 2014, 10:37 pm

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) With Serena Williams set to play Maria Sharapova in the Brisbane International semifinals Friday, her older sister Venus advanced to the ASB Classic final in Auckland, New Zealand, on a walkover.

Venus Williams, a seven-time Grand Slam singles winner and former No. 1 now ranked 47th, was due to play fellow American Jamie Hampton in the semifinals. Hampton was forced to withdraw, however, after suffering a right hip injury during a morning practice session.

Hampton said her decision to withdraw was prompted by the closeness of the Australian Open, which begins in Melbourne on Jan. 13.

Williams chose Auckland for her comeback after being sidelined by injuries since September. She has also been battling Sjogren's syndrome, an illness of the auto-immune system.

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