In their 31st meeting, it was Serena Williams getting the better of elder sister Venus in a second round showdown in Lexington Thursday afternoon.
Serena overcame a 4-2 third set deficit winning the last four games to prevail 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in two hours, 19 minutes.
“I turned it up on the last two games,” Serena said. “It was a very high quality match.
“I’ve lost a few tight sets lately, so I was telling myself I really wanted to win this one and try to focus on those last two games,” Serena said.
Powered by her serve, Venus took the opener before Serena mounted a charge in the second. Venus, though, regained control in the third before Serena began blasting groundstrokes, overpowering the 40-year-old Venus.
Serena now leads Venus 19-12 in their sister rivalry. It was their first meeting with no fans!
“It definitely felt more relaxed than the stadium at Wimbledon and the US Open,” she said. “But it’s never easy.”
Said Venus who beat Victoria Azarenka Tuesday, “I don’t think I’ve ever had a tougher draw in my life. I’ve basically played two in a row so it’s definitely an unbelievable experience to start the season this way.
“All things considered, I played well, handled it well and I know I can play even better.”
Serena now faces Charleston native Shelby Rogers in the quarterfinals.
“I honestly didn’t come here to win,” added Serena. “For the first time in my career, I came here to win some matches and see what happens. I haven’t had this much time off since the baby, so now I’m just trying to get some rhythm and see what happens.”
Cici Bellis and Jill Teichmann also advanced to a quarterfinal meeting Friday.
Back in action tomorrow is 16-year-old Coco Gauff who meets Ons Jabeur. And Marie Bouzkova battles Jen Brady also in the bottom half.
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