*Flushing, NY – Serena Williams emphatically booked a spot in the 4th Round of the US Open on Friday night. She did it by mercilessly steamrolling over her sister, Venus Williams, 6-1, 6-2, in just over an hour.
The meeting between the two was a momentous occasion in terms of all the history-making facts that have already laid out, but Serena’s ruthless display of all the gifts she’s working with as one of the most decorated tennis players to ever live sucked the frills out of the night. It was all about her devastating game.
Serena Williams reduced her second most decorated sister’s hope to winning games as opposed to the match with her nearly flawless play. When Venus would hit a rare winner or when Serena would make a rare error, the crowd would roar for the eldest of the two in an effort to jump start her, but Serena would quickly shut her out with an ace, a thunderous ground stroke or a line-painting winner. Venus simply never had a chance.
The sisters have played 30 times total, including this last match, but according to Venus “it was the best she’s ever played against her.” The “she’s my sister and I know her game” intel neither any sympathy from the “we’re family” factor made any difference … Serena came to win.
The commentators, Chris Evert and Cliff Drysdale wondered aloud if a return error Serena made toward the final few points of the match were part of an effort to help her beloved sister save face (they’ve even been accused of predetermining outcomes in the past), but the next couple of points that allowed her to close out the match caused them to dial that suggestion all the way back. It was clear they were on opposite teams and Serena didn’t hold back any parts of her “A-game.”
But don’t cry for Venus. She loves the game and loves her sister, so she’ll just move on to the next tournament or opportunity and give it another shot. That’s how she was raised, that’s how they both were raised. Despite their different approaches to the game, they both are hard-wired to think like champions and their worst is most people’s best. It’s earned them the respect, notoriety … and money they enjoy today.
The latest Nike ad featuring a young Serena and her father Richard Williams discussing the game and a clip of Richard intervening in the interview of a young Venus gives us insight into how and why they became champions:
They got it honestly.
Sloane Stephens also advanced to the 4th round of the US Open by taking out former Grand Slam champion, Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, 6-3, 6-4. Sloane is a notorious big match player and she made that abundantly clear during her day match on Friday, inside Arthur Ashe. She was firing on all cylinders and as Azarenka’s level rose, so did hers. She’s on a collision course to meet up with Serena Williams in semifinal play, which would be a popcorn match in and of itself: 6-time champion against defending champion. We can only pray that the tennis gods blesses us with that match up.