Venus dispatches Serena at Indian Wells
It is Venus’ first victory over Serena since August 2014 at the Rogers Cup in Montreal, and the first matchup where Venus was the higher-ranked player since the sisters met at Bangalore in March 2008
Venus Williams defeated Serena Williams for the first time in nearly four years, getting past her younger sister 6-3, 6-4 on Monday in the third round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California.
It is Venus’ first victory over Serena since August 2014 at the Rogers Cup in Montreal, and the first matchup where Venus was the higher-ranked player since the sisters met at Bangalore in March 2008.
“I’m just lucky that I’ve played more matches than her right now,” Venus said in a postmatch on-court interview. “She just came roaring back. I had chances for the match to be over, but it wasn’t.”
It was their 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 for the first time since last year’s Australian Open final, when a pregnant Serena won her 23rd Grand Slam title.
“I definitely know her well, but she definitely played a little bit better than she normally does,” Serena said. “She served very consistently. She just did everything great.”
Serena, who was unseeded in the tournament, still leads Venus 17-12 in head-to-head meetings. She played in her first WTA tournament after a 14-month layoff for the birth of her first child.
“It’s different, I haven’t played in over a year. It’s definitely not less disappointing, I wish it was. But then I wouldn’t be who I am. … I just have a long way to go and I look forward to the journey,” Serena added.
Venus closed out the 1½-hour 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.
Venus broke Serena at love in the sixth game for a 4-2 lead in the first set. She emphatically closed out the 36-minute set with back-to-back aces that clocked 108 mph and 120 mph.
Venus raced out to leads of 3-0 and 5-2 in the second set. Serena’s shot went wide to set up her sister’s first match point. But Serena cracked a backhand winner down the line for deuce.
Venus’ forehand was long and she double-faulted away the game to make it 5-3. Serena held to trail 5-4 with an ace and a clean winner.
Venus faced two break points in the next game, but got bailed out on Serena’s consecutive forehand errors to get to deuce. Venus hung on from there to end their 29th meeting.
“Missing shots that I never miss, and so close,” Serena said. “At least they’re in the margin. I’m getting there. It’s not exactly where I want to be, but I’ll get there eventually.”