Serena Williams of USA reacts after scoring a point against Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark during their quarterfinals tennis match for the 2014 Rogers Cup women’s tennis tournament at Uniprix Stadium in Montreal on Friday, Aug. 8, 2014.
Photograph by: Dario Ayala, The Gazette
MONTREAL — Serena Williams is happy to see her older sister Venus playing well, but she’s not thrilled at the prospect of facing Venus Saturday afternoon in the semifinals of the Rogers Cup Canadian Open women’s tennis championships.
“I feel great when I see her playing so well (but) obviously not when it’s time for me to play her,” Serena said. “I definitely don’t like playing her. I think I’ve lost to her more than any player on the tour, so it’s not a fun match.”
For the record, they have met 25 times with Serena holding a 15-10 edge. Serena has won five in a row since losing to Venus at Dubai in 2009.
The sibling rivalry was set after each of the sisters posted a three-set win Friday afternoon at Uniprix Stadium. Serena, the top seed and No. 1 player on the WTA Tour, overcame a raft of unforced errors and an inconsistent serve to beat 11th-seeded Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 in a two-hour, 41-minute marathon while the unseeded Venus outlasted 14th-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 in two hours and 11 minutes.
Wozniacki said she was happy with the way she played but noted that Serena came up with big serves when she needed them. Williams had 15 aces to two for Wozniacki.
The other semifinal at 6:30 p.m. pits unseeded Ekaterina Makarova of Russia against third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland. Makarova defeated qualifier Coco Vandeweghe of the United States 6-1, 4-6, 6-1, while Radwanska defeated eighth-seeded Victoria Azarenka of Belarus 6-2, 6-2.
When the Williams sisters changed the face of women’s tennis in the late 1990s, their father Richard predicted that they would not have long careers. He said they would move on and explore their other talents.
But Serena, who has won 17 Grand Slam titles, has reclaimed her spot atop the rankings at age 32 and 34-year-old Venus, who has won seven Grand Slam titles, is poised to move back into the top 20. Their longevity is impressive because they have both experienced lengthy absences because of health issues.
“I definitely didn’t see myself playing tennis at my age,” said Serena. “I just thought I would have been gone doing other things. But it just so happens that I love to play, I love to compete. I’m having fun. I enjoy it. I just can’t give it up. I just really can’t let it go.”
Those sentiments were echoed by Venus.
“I didn’t think that I’d be playing this long,” Venus said. “I thought I’d be running my own business by now. You know, I see my life differently now. I definitely want to play as long as I can. For me, I think I’m playing for my own redemption, just to prove to myself that I can be strong. I play because I love it and I want to win titles, but I also play for that. I don’t want to lie down, let anything run me over. Young V, when she played her first Rogers Cup, would have thought: ‘You shouldn’t be playing at this stage.’ But Old V says, ‘Young V, you’re an idiot’.”
Serena said she was proud of the contribution she and Venus have made to the game.
“We’ve had such a great impact,” she said. “I think having been pretty much one of the first African Americans to do well, then to see all the African Americans, even some Canadians here, playing really well, it makes me feel really good. I’m really excited to see that, to be honest. We just had an opportunity to do something really special. Sometimes I get chill bumps when I think about it because we’re just so normal and so down to earth. We just feel like we want to help everyone to do the best that they can. We’re really excited.”
Serena, who will begin defence of her U.S. Open title in two weeks, said there’s pressure which goes along with being No. 1. But she said: “I always lean on Billie Jean King’s words when she says pressure is a privilege.”
And Serena, who missed 11 months in 2010-11 because of a pulmonary embolism, said she has a greater appreciation for the game as she grows older.
“There’s definitely a deeper understanding,” she said. “You just grow to love what you do more. Then you get to a point where you don’t want to let go, like me. That’s why I’m still here.”
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