USA’s Venus Williams celebrates winning the third round match against Japan’s Naomi Osaka. REUTERS

LONDON: Venus Williams became the oldest player to reach the last 16 at Wimbledon in 23 years as the five-time champion defeated Japan’s Naomi Osaka 7-6 (7/3), 6-4 on Friday.

At 37 years and 29 days old, Williams is the most senior player to make the fourth round since Martina Navratilova, aged 37 years and 258 days, in 1994.

Navratilova went on to finish as Wimbledon runner-up that year and, given the absence of her sister and defending champion Serena Williams, the world number 11 will believe she can at least emulate that feat.

Osaka was born a month after Venus reached her first US Open final in 1997 and the world number 59 was unable to spring a surprise against one of her childhood idols despite an battling display on Court One.

Venus, a seven-time Grand Slam winner, last won Wimbledon in 2008, but she has enjoyed a late career revival which saw her make the All England Club semi-finals last year and the Australian Open final in January.

She faces Croatian 27th seed Ana Konjuh in the fourth round as she eyes a 13th Wimbledon quarter-final appearance. --AFP

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