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Serena, Venus set to clash in Rogers Cup semifinal

Venus Williams celebrates during her quarterfinal win against Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro.
Venus Williams celebrates during her quarterfinal win against Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro.
Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

World No. 1 Serena Williams and sister Venus will face-off at the Rogers Cup semifinal in Montreal Saturday. It will be the 25th time that the sisters will meet in a tournament. Serena leads head-to-head, 14-10.

Both sisters survived grueling three-set wins Friday to confirm their semifinal meeting.

Serena defeated good friend Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, 4-6, 7-5, 7-5, while Venus followed shortly thereafter, winning a three-set thriller against Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.

Serena's win against Wozniacki was good preparation for the awkward moments that will surely ensue when facing her 7-time Grand Slam-winning big sister on Saturday. This is the first time that Venus has played the Rogers Cup in Montreal.

"Has there ever been a more imposing figure at net than Venus Williams? What a gutsy performance," said ESPN's Pam Shriver regarding Venus' win against Suarez Navarro, which required savvy net play, plenty of backhands, and plain old grit and determination.

Thursday was Venus' second back-to-back three-set win. She defeated Angelique Kerber of Germany in the previous round.

At age 34, Venus' grinding wins no doubt take a huge toll on her body. Her 2011 diagnosis of Sjogren's syndrome, an autoimmune disease with potentially debilitating effects, only complicates the matter.

During Thursday's quarterfinal match, Williams often groaned loudly after her shots, and sideline commentators noted her audible heavy breathing between points.

Both Serena and Venus appear to be in the process of honing their games. Although Serena won last week's Bank of the West Classic, her match play is still streaky. Venus continues to work to find the consistent form she once knew as a World No. 1.

Sparks are sure to fly when the power games of these two tennis greats collide. Whoever is left standing, one thing is for sure.

There will be a Williams sister in the final.

Kevin Don Porter is a CBS local contributor and author of the thrillers MISSING and OVER THE EDGE—both available on Amazon.com. Visit his website at www.kevindonporter.com.