Ageless Venus Williams is daring to dream of a possible glamour Australian Open final against sister Serena, but admits they both have their work cut to get there.
The American great progressed to an amazing 37th career Grand Slam quarter-final Sunday, needing all her big-match experience against determined German qualifier Mona Barthel 6-3, 7-5.
It sets her up against Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova for a place in the last four and with Serena in the other side of the draw, the earliest they can meet will be the final.
Asked if she had thought about playing a ninth Grand Slam final against her sister, she replied: "That could hopefully happen. We both still have to work very hard to get there.
"Today I played a qualifier, and she hardly ever missed. So it doesn't matter who you come up against, they are coming and they want to win, too.
"They have nothing to lose. I'm going to be focused on winning one round at a time and focus on doing what it takes to be there."
The sisters played each other for the first time in Melbourne in 1998, with Venus coming out on top of the second-round match on her way to the quarter-finals.
So far, they have met in eight Grand Slam deciders, with Venus winning just once, at Wimbledon in 2008.
Serena, gunning for a record-breaking 23rd major crown, faces Barbora Strycova for a place in the quarters on Monday.
- 'Not the end goal' -
Venus's victory over Barthel thrust her into the last eight for a ninth time at a tournament she is yet to win during a career that has earned her seven Grand Slam trophies, though none since that Wimbledon 2008 title.
Next up is Pavlyuchenkova, who upset her fellow Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3, 6-3.
Despite an elbow injury derailing her build-up to the opening Grand Slam of the year, Venus, who is yet to drop a set, said she was feeling fine.
And the 13th seed warned there was still plenty left in the tank.
"I think the first time I played this tournament I reached the quarter-finals, so I have done this," she said.
"This is where you want to be, because you set yourself up to move forward, but this is not the end-all for me. This is not the end goal."
Williams and Barthel had met two times before, with the American winning both. But despite her lowly 118 ranking, Barthel was never going to be a pushover.
She has three career singles titles to her name and is on the comeback trail after suffering chronic fatigue illness last year, which forced her out for four months.
Seeded 13, Williams used her wealth of experience to pounce early and storm to a 3-0 lead. She gave a service game away before reasserting her dominance with another break back.
Undeterred, Barthel kept coming back, winning a titanic seventh game that included six deuces to keep her hopes alive.
Williams, with the bright sun appearing to cause her problems, hit more unforced errors in the set but a superior number of winners made the difference as she finally nailed it in 42 minutes.
It was a much closer affair in the second set until a patient Williams, the oldest player in the women's draw, broke in game 11 and served out the win.