Venus Williams has defeated younger sister Serena 6-3 6-4 in the third round of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, her first win in the sibling rivalry since 2014. It was the sisters’ earliest meeting since a 17-year-old Venus beat 16-year-old Serena in the second round of the 1998 Australian Open. They played Monday […]
Venus Williams has defeated younger sister Serena 6-3 6-4 in the third round of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, her first win in the sibling rivalry since 2014.
It was the sisters’ earliest meeting since a 17-year-old Venus beat 16-year-old Serena in the second round of the 1998 Australian Open. They played Monday night (Tuesday NZT) for the first time since last year’s Australian Open final, when a pregnant Serena won her 23rd grand slam title.
Elder sister Venus closed out the match on her second match point when Serena’s forehand service return sailed long. It was one of Serena’s 41 unforced errors, including 17 on the forehand side.
Serena still leads the head to head tally of the Williams sisters with a 17-12 advantage overall, although Venus evened their WTA Tour head-to-head meetings at 7-7.
“I really abhor every time we play, but I do enjoy the battle when I’m out there,” Serena said last weekend. “It’s just afterwards I don’t like it as much.”
Serena was back on the WTA Tour for the first time since ending a 14-month absence during which she gave birth to daughter Alexis Jr. and married Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, who sat courtside.
Typically, the sisters wouldn’t meet until the later rounds of a tournament. But 36-year-old Serena was unseeded in this event. Venus, 37, is seeded eighth.
Serena was victorious in her first two matches, while Venus received a first-round bye and won her opening match.
The Indian Wells match was 17 years in the making, and the sisters were supposed to play each other in the Californian desert in 2001. A packed stadium awaited their semifinal but shortly before the match was to begin Venus withdrew with a right knee injury.
Emotions were unreserved at the net when they greeted each other with a one-arm hug and neither smiled. Venus did her usual victory pirouette, but still didn’t smile, and cameras focused religiously as a stone-faced Serena exited the court to cheers, pointing her right index finger in the air.