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Serena Williams vs. Elena Vesnina, Wimbledon 2016: Time, TV schedule and live stream for women's semifinal

Williams has everything going for her, but Vesnina has defied expectations thus far. Who will win in Thursday's semifinal?

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Serena Williams is the most dominant player in professional tennis, and it's really not even close. Elena Vesnina is ranked No. 50 in the world and has never ranked in the top 20 singles players. She'll be playing in her first ever Grand Slam semifinal on Thursday, and her opponent is Williams, who owns 21 Grand Slam singles titles, including six of them at Wimbledon.

Vesnina turned pro all the way back in 2002, and given her lack of overall singles success, most are penciling Williams in for a finals spot and wondering who she'll face -- Angelique Kerber or Serena's sister, Venus Williams, who are set to play in the other semifinal matchup on Thursday.

And while Williams herself will never overlook Vesnina, it's easy to write the unseeded Russian off. But it was also easy to write off Garbine Muguruza, even if she was a high seed, before she beat Williams in the French Open finals just a few weeks ago. It was easy because Serena Williams is ... Serena Williams.

Williams and Vesnina have faced off four times in the past, with Williams winning all of them in straight sets. They have played twice on hard courts and twice on clay, with Thursday's match being their first on grass. Williams dominated Vesnina most recently in Beijing in 2013.

But Vesnina is no stranger to the big stage, even if she hasn't been here in singles play. She was once ranked No. 3 in the world in doubles play, and has multiple doubles Grand Slam titles. Most recently, she took the Australian Open title in mixed doubles this year. She's found a lot of recent success, and owns wins over three top-15 players already this season. In the quarterfinals, she upset No. 19 Dominika Cibulkova.

Getting past Williams is a whole different thing, though. Williams will be favored heavily going into the match, but she's lost plenty of times when favored. At this point, there's no reason to outright pick Vesnina to win, but she's defied expectations thus far and could certainly do it again on Thursday.

The match will be broadcast on ESPN from Centre Court, beginning at 8 a.m. ET. A live stream will be available via WatchESPN, with links below.

Coverage for Thursday's matches at Wimbledon

Events: Women's semifinals
Location: All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon, London, UK
Time: 8:00 a.m. ET
TV: ESPN
Streaming: WatchESPN