Lexington, August 14
There was zero interplay between the 2, not even a furtive look, when Venus Williams walked previous Serena Williams within the Top Seed Open’s warm-up space earlier than their 31st matchup as execs.
Moments later, each headed to the courtroom, every sporting a face-covering — Serena sporting a leopard print design, Venus with a light-weight blue medical masks — and have been greeted not by the roars of an appreciative viewers however principally by silence.
Zero fanfare as a result of, effectively, there are zero followers on the first tennis event within the US because the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
When the match started, although, all the pieces appeared regular – onerous hitting, large serving.
Serena got here again and gained the final 4 video games to beat her older sister, Venus, 3-6 6-Three 6-Four in a second-round match – 22½ years after the primary between the 2.
Folks might be seen mendacity on the bottom to peek by the opening on the backside of the fence in the back of the courtroom.
“It definitely felt more relaxed than the stadium at Wimbledon or at the US Open,” stated Serena, who now leads the all-in-the-family collection 19-12.
“But it still is not like the practice courts.”
When it ended, the siblings merely tapped rackets. No handshake or hug, owing to guidelines about social distancing. Another signal of the instances: There was a “Black Lives Matter” stencil on the wall behind the baseline.
It was a back-and-forth contest, with every girl showing to maneuver out in entrance till the opposite pulled even. Make no mistake: The aggressive juices have been flowing. In the primary set, Serena questioned an overrule by the chair umpire that granted Venus an ace.
“This was an actual match with actual factors and actual penalties,” stated Venus, who owns seven Grand Slam singles titles, 16 fewer than Serena’s 23.
Serena broke straight away and led 2-0, however Venus responded by grabbing 5 video games in a row on the way in which to taking the opening set. Then Serena regrouped to win the second.
With the temperature at 90 levels and excessive humidity, the warmth rule was in impact, so there was a 10-minute break after the second set. Venus took benefit, leaving the courtroom, however Serena stayed put.
In the third, Venus went forward 4-2 due to a three-game run. Naturally, Serena got here again, incomes the break for a 5-Four lead with the assistance of considered one of Venus’ 11 double-faults and shutting it with a operating, down-the-line backhand from huge of the doubles alley that capped a 12-stroke alternate.
“I just ran out of time there, is kind of what it felt like,” Venus stated.
Venus is 40, and Serena turns 39 subsequent month, making their mixed age the best in a WTA match since 2004, when Martina Navratilova, 47, performed Amy Frazier, 31.
The top-seeded Serena subsequent faces American wild-card entry Shelby Rogers, a 6-2 7-5 winner over Canadian qualifier Leylah Fernandez.
Jil Teichmann superior to the quarterfinals with a 6-2 6-2 victory over No. 5 seed Yulia Putintseva. Teichmann now performs CiCi Bellis, who eradicated Jessica Pegula 6-Three 6-2. AP