Venus and Serena Williams will renew their sibling rivalry on Saturday at the Family Circle Cup in Charleston on Saturday. The sisters meet in the semifinals after both had to win two matches each on Friday due to Thursday rain.
Top seed and World No. 1 Serena won both her matches in straight sets, beating former Stanford standout Mallory Burdette then overcoming an early break deficit to turn away Lucie Safarova.
“It was really motivating to see Venus win today – I figured if she can win two matches, I have no excuse not to win my two matches,” said Serena who was playing two singles matches on the same day for the first time in her career.
The elder Venus had a tougher course. The 32-year-old needed three sets to vanquish Varvara Lepchenko before an easier straight-set victory over Madison Keys.
“The last years have been challenging and at some points difficult, but I think in both of our heads we never gave up on tennis or ourselves or belief,” said Venus. “And that’s what’s crucial is that you never stop believing in yourself. And it’s not easy, but it’s worth it.”
This will be the sisters 24th clash and their first since 2009. It’s also the first time they’ll meet on green clay after two prior battles on the red stuff back at the 2002 French Open (Serena) and 1998 Rome (Venus).
“It definitely feels like a long time ago,” Serena said. “But Venus is the toughest opponent I’ve ever played. I think she’s beaten me the most out of any player. I know her game and she knows my game. I know where she’s going to serve; she knows where I’m going to serve. I know her patterns; she knows mine – she probably knows mine better than I do. I think it’ll be a great match tomorrow.”
Serena leads their rivalry 13-10 winning their most recent four. And with Venus battling Sjogren’s Syndrome, which is said to affect her recovery after match play, Serena will have the big edge tomorrow.
“I’ve seen her so many times – hopefully all the times I’ve sat in those stands watching her will give me a little help,” Venus said. “I’m looking forward to it. Last year in Charleston I fell short and I didn’t hold up my end of the bargain and make the semifinals, so I’m glad I took it step further this year.”
In the other semifinal, surprising Stefanie Voegele faces former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic. Voegele stunned 2011 tournament champion Caroline Wozniakci in a three-setter 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 under the lights.
Earlier in the day Jankovic collected her 500th career match win after dispatching Canadian youngster Genie Bouchard 6-1, 6-2
“I actually didn’t know that,” said Jankovic, the 2007 Charleston champion. “I don’t know who told me, but I was like, ‘Really?’
“I don’t really know what it feels like. I had no idea how many wins I had. I’m really bad with statistics. I don’t follow any of that. But it’s pretty nice. It’s a great achievement to get my 500th win, and hopefully I can have many more. We’ll see how it goes. I don’t know how many players have done that.
“To have 500 wins you have to have a pretty long career and be pretty consistent.”
After sliding down in the rankings the Serb has recently re-found her winning ways having now reached consecutive tournament semifinals in Miami and now Charleston.
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