Venus Frustrates Serena, Reaches Semis
DOHA, Qatar - Venus Williams drew level in her on-court rivalry with sister Serena on Thursday, by coming from behind in their round robin match at the Sony Ericsson Championships to win 57 61 60. The two are now 9-9 in career Tour matches, and 2-2 in 2008, after Serena won at Bangalore and the US Open, and Venus triumphed at Wimbledon. Venus also confirmed her place in the event's semifinals, although Serena's prospects are less certain.
The sisters exchanged breaks to kick off the Maroon Group match, and although they did it again midway through the set the contest remained predictably close. But after No.3 seed Serena made her next move at a crucial moment to go a set ahead, a dramatic reversal of fortune was unfurled as errors sprayed from the younger sisters racquet.
Still, despite managing to win a solitary game in the second set, Serena appeared ready to stop the rot in the first game of the decider, which went to deuce five times on Venus' serve. But the elder sister held on and proceeded to break the Serena serve three times to race to victory without conceding another game.
"I think I started playing well in the second set," observed Venus, the seventh seed this week. "Serving a lot better, and then that first game in the third was really long. But after that, I think she started to get a little more impatient, a little more upset with her performance. She just started to play faster and faster; when the other person keeps bringing it back, it just starts a domino effect with her."
Wearing her sister-hat, Venus added: "There's nothing I can do. I think she just has to go through it, and figure out in her head what went wrong in the match - just like all the other matches, even though it was against me. I think she'll take some time and come out even stronger tomorrow."
For her part, a despondent Serena struggled to hide her frustration with the result, given the sharp form she had displayed against Dinara Safina in her first match on Wednesday.
"I wasn't playing my best in the first set, but at least I was able to get some serves in," she said. "After that it just kind of fell apart and I couldn't keep more than two balls over the net before I made an error. I've never been in a situation where I just feel like I cant do anything - usually if Im not serving well, I can hit a backhand.
"This is definitely the worst match I've played this year by far," added the 27-year-old, who must now defeat Elena Dementieva if she is to qualify for the semis, after the Russian beat Safina on Thursday. "I don't know why. I didn't even look like a Top 8 player today.
"Maybe Top 600 in the Juniors," she suggested, a wry smile spreading across her face.