In what could be considered one of their better matches, Venus and Serena Williams collided in the semifinals of the Coupe Rogers in Montreal. It was a clashing of two of the games greatest players and it was the first time these two ladies faced since Charleston last year and the Montreal crowd would not be disappointed. Both players received an overwhelming reception when entering Stade Uniprix; it has always been difficult to root for either sister when playing one and why would it be any different twenty five meetings later?
Anticipation had built for the possible matchup between these two ladies as both were making long awaited arrivals to Montreal; Serena hadn't played in Montreal in roughly 14 years whereas Venus was making her debut appearance this year. Deprived of what can be considered one of tennis' great rivalries, the packed crowd at Stade Uniprix went wild when both ladies walked to opposite sides of the court to start play, it was show time!
Serena would open the match serving and it was big sister Venus who started quickly; Venus broke serve and looked the more calm of the two. Coming into the semifinal, Venus had played three long matches, so a quick start would be optimal. The lead wouldn't last long as Serena would start to get her groove going and break back midway through the first set, the sisters were on level terms. The two would progress through the first sete holding serve until the final game of the set, where Serena would hold set point at 5-6 with Venus serving. A massive body serve would save said set point and a few points later we were headed into a first set tiebreak.
Both ladies knew the importance of the first set as the loser of the first set has only come back to win three times. It was venue who cracked early in the tiebreak, misfiring on two forehands and falling behind 4-0 in the tiebreak. Once said by their father, Richard Williams, "Serena is like a pit bull, once she latches on she never let's go", and that's exactly what happened; Serena created a big lead in the tiebreak and never looked back.
Heading into the second set, Venus was not to be alarmed as she dropped the opening set in her last match and was able to pick herself up and muster a win. Playing bold and freely, Venus would start cracking forehands and before you knew it, she was up 3-0, was the tide turning? It sure was; Venus went up a break and then found herself at 5-2 where she broke again to send the sister duel into a deciding set.
It was clear that Serena had lost a little steam, whether it be due to her extensive battle in the prior round or to her sisters massive haymakers, the world number was struggling and on her back foot. No matter the score,Venus would constantly apply overwhelming pressure on her top ranked sister and eventually she cracked again; Venus broke serve and went up 5-2 in the decider. Serena, being one of the greatest fighters ever, didn't just lay down and give Venus the victory, she mad Venus earn every point; two points from defeat at 2-5, Serena found a couple of big serves and held on to force Venus win the match on her serve. Venus found herself two points away from victory again, only to see Serena boom a few forehands and level up the game; was another tight loss in the cards for Venus? After two more massive serves, the answer to that question is no; Venus would defeat her sister for the first time since 2009.
The quality of play was definitely of a high nature; Venus had 23 winners to 20 errors, and Serena had 35 winners to 32 errors. Both ladies served incredibly well as Serena slammed down 19 aces with a 56 percentage and Venus cracked 6 ace with the same first serve percentage. It was a match of equal proportion and a match that I'm sure Montreal enjoyed thoroughly.
Even though in tennis their can only be one winner, having these two icons face off again is a victory of the entire sport of tennis. Everyone watching around the world were winners, not just Venus and not just the crowd at Stade Uniprix; it was a win for everyone.
Venus vs Serena XXV