Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

U.S. OPEN ; Serena Beats Venus in 3 Sets to Extend Slam Bid

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

U.S. OPEN ; Serena Beats Venus in 3 Sets to Extend Slam Bid

Article excerpt

NEW YORK - If Serena Williams would feel sympathy for any opponent standing in the way of her pursuit of tennis' first true Grand Slam in 27 years, it might very well be her sister Venus. Still, no way was Serena going to let anyone, or anything, stop her on this night, even if she found herself in a mid-match lull while facing her older sibling in the U.S. Open quarterfinals.

Moving two matches from history, top-seeded Serena got all she could handle from 23rd-seeded Venus before moving into the semifinals at Flushing Meadows with a 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 victory Tuesday in the 27th installment of the unique Williams vs. Williams rivalry.

When it ended, they met at the net for a hug, with a smiling Venus wrapping both arms around Serena.

"She's the toughest player I've ever played in my life and the best person I know, Serena said in an on-court interview. "It's going against your best friend and at the same time going against the greatest competitor, for me, in women's tennis.

Serena is 16-11 in their matches, including 9-5 in majors and 3- 2 at the U.S. Open. Of greater significance, Serena can still become the first player since Steffi Graf in 1988 to collect all four Grand Slam titles in a calendar year.

And if she can win what would be her fourth U.S. Open in a row, and seventh overall, she would equal Graf with 22 major championships, the most in the professional era and second-most ever behind Margaret Court's 24.

Well-known folks such as Donald Trump - who was booed when shown on video screens - Oprah Winfrey and Kim Kardashian dotted the teeming stands in Arthur Ashe Stadium, and the action under the lights often was of high quality.

The sisters combined for 57 winners (Serena had more, 35) and only 37 unforced errors (Venus had fewer, 15).

Both pounded serves fast, very fast, each topping 120 mph. Both returned well, oh so well, each managing to put into play at least one serve at more than 115 mph by the other.

Venus often attempted to end baseline exchanges quickly. Serena showed tremendous touch by using drop shots, one paired with a backhand passing winner, another with a perfectly curled lob.

Serena grabbed the last four games of the first set. …

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