Savage Serena destroys her sister
SERENA Williams has equalled her most lopsided victory in 30 professional meetings with sister Venus, beating her 6-1 6-2 on Saturday in the third round of the US Open.
Serena shook off an early ankle injury to win seven straight games and seize control in her most dominant performance since giving birth to daughter Olympia a year ago.
The sisters' earliest meeting at a grand slam in 20 years was over early, with Venus unable to do anything to blunt Serena's power, even after the crowd tried desperately to get behind her early in the second set.
They hadn't played this early in a major since Venus won in the second round of the 1998 Australian Open in their first meeting as pros, and only once over the next two decades had either won so decisively.
Serena won by the same scoreline in a semi-final in Charleston in 2013, but Saturday's clash was easily their most one-sided meeting at a grand slam.
Prior to this clash, the most dominant major victory was Venus's 6-2 6-4 win in the 2001 US Open final.
In her on-court interview, Serena said it was the "best match" she'd played since returning to tennis after becoming a mum. But she gained no joy from that fact, refusing to celebrate after the match as she pondered the awkwardness of the situation.
The mother of one was all class after securing her passage through to the fourth round, praising her sister and discussing what it meant to share the court with her.
"It's not easy (playing Venus). She's my best friend. She means the world to me and is so supportive of my career. Every time she loses I feel like I do," Serena said.
"It's a tournament and we all know there's more to life than playing each other and just playing tennis.
"I love her will all my heart and she's the reason I'm here. She's the only reason I'm still out here so I owe everything to her.
"I hope my dad didn't watch. I mean it's his two daughters playing each other, it's not easy. I know he's probably feeling as nervous as we did."
Serena, the No.17 seed, will next face Kaia Kanepi of Estonia, who knocked out top-ranked Simona Halep in the first round.
Serena, who turns 37 next month, leads the head-to-head record with her sister 18-12, including an 11-5 record at grand slams. But this one wasn't expected to be so easy, not with Serena still working her way back into form after returning to the tour.
But this was the type of tennis that brought her 23 major singles titles - the ability to pound balls all over the court and chase down the rare shots that looked like they might get past her.
"This was my best match since I returned," she said.
"I worked for it. I worked really hard these last three or four months. That's life, you have to keep working hard no matter ups or downs you have. That's what I've been doing."
She sent down 10 aces to just one for Venus, the No.16 seed, who was perhaps a little drained after two tough matches to begin the tournament, including a three-setter against 2004 US Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova in her opener.
Serena had an easier time in the first two rounds, though that was expected to change under the lights in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
The sisters have a combined eight titles at Flushing Meadows, six for Serena, and each has beaten the other in a US Open final.
But there was no beating Serena on this night, and the discouraged look on Venus's face across much of the match indicated she seemed to realise it.
- with AP