As soon as the US Open Women’s Singles draw was made, there was one clash that definitely stood out. That would be the the expected third round between the 16th and 17th seeds respectively – Serena Williams and Venus Williams. The pair have won eight US Open titles between them including four straight between 1999 and 2002. Serena leads the head currently at 17-12 including 10-5 at slams.
If one player was expected to not meet their end of the bargain in getting to this one, it would have been Venus. She has definitely had it much tougher this year and flamed out of all three slams early although the last loss coming to Kiki Bertens does not look as bad in retrospect. She faced a tricky route to make it this far, beating former champion Svetlana Kuznetsova and the hard hitting Camila Giorgi to make it to Day 5. Doing so in the uncomfortable heat was all the more impressive given Venus’ health struggles.
For Serena, it has been plain sailing so far. She eased past Carina Witthoeft in the second round, dropping just four games in victory. All the focus will have been on tonight’s potential clash but she showed no signs of complacency against the German. She served 13 aces in the win but still had to fight hard in some of her service games – saving four of the five break points against her.
Serena and Venus have always talked gushingly about each other and their careers and it was much the same here. “I never root against her, no matter what. So I think that’s the toughest part for me. When you always want someone to win, to have to beat them. I know the same thing is for her. When she beats me, she always roots for me as well. I think that’s just the hardest part.” Serena said. “The best part is we bring out the best in each other. I know when I play her, I have to play some of my best tennis. She does, too. It propels us to continue to play that for the tournament. It sets a tone for us. I feel like throughout our career, we have pushed each other to be the best that we can be, and be Venus and Serena Williams.”
The advantage in clash No.30 definitely has to go to Serena, who will be seeing an ever clearer path to the final with Garbine Muguruza’s early exit in round two adding to that of Simona Halep on opening day.
Prediction – Serena Williams in straight sets