In her match against Carina Witthoeft of Germany, Serena Williams hit 13 aces to overwhelm the 101st-ranked German hopeful going 6-2 and 6-2 in a match that lasted barely over an hour. A few hours earlier, her sister Venus Williams ran through Camila Giorgi of Italy 6-4, 7-5 at Louis Armstrong Stadium, eliminating the 40th-ranked player with relative ease as reported by Sports Illustrated. The victories set up a showdown between the Williams sisters in the third round that should be one for the storybooks.
The sisters have faced off plenty of times before, 29 times total in tournament play coming into their third round match. However, this will be the earliest round that they have faced off against each other in any Grand Slam event since their first tournament match in 1998 at the Australian Open. According to Tennis, Venus won that first encounter, but since then, Serena has become the more dominant of the pair. That is no slight against Venus, who entered the U.S. Open as the 16 seed, just ahead of Serena at 17. The seedings do not reflect their actual tour rankings, as Serena was given a bump to help compensate for time away from the game for her maternity leave.
(That sound you hear is the @usopen’s hype machine cranking into high gear. ????)
— Kimberly A. Woodard (@BeingKimmie) August 30, 2018
Serena has six U.S. Open wins, while Venus only has two, but when it comes to playing each other, all of the statistics in the world go out the window as they appear to always be primed to throw an upset victory on each other as no one in tennis knows either of their strengths and weaknesses better than each other. For fans who love the stats, they break down as Serena having the advantage at 17-12, which includes a 10-5 edge at major events. They have 30 Grand Slam singles trophies between them with 23 of those belonging to Serena. By the numbers, Serena is the favorite, but neither she nor her sister will concede that.
The last time the sisters faced off against each other at a Grand Slam event was in the finals of the 2017 Australian Open. Serena, who was in the early stages of her pregnancy, defeated her sister who took it in stride with a good dose of humor. When interviewed about the potential of a match against Serena, she joked that this time it should be a fair match, per the Telegraph.
“The last time we played at the Australian Open it was two against one, so at least this time it will be fair.”
A nice joke from #Venus about the prospect of playing #Serena: "Last time we played in Australia, it was two against one." On-court interviewer, Pam Shriver, then feels the need to immediately explain and thus ruin the joke: "That's when she was pregnant." Thanks, Pam.
— Jamie Scott (@JCScott4) August 29, 2018
When asked for a comment after her match about playing against her sister, Serena was classy as ever and set the tone for what could possibly be the must-watch match of the U.S. Open.
“It’s obviously a tough match. It’s so young in the tournament. It’s not the end of the world. We would have rather met later but we’re both going to come out per usual and do our best. We make each other better. We bring out the best when we play each other. I think we’re used to it now. 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 it’s the same thing for her.”
The sisters will face off Friday, August 31, in the round of 32 at a time and location to be determined, according to the U.S. Open website.
We’re always feeling #Serena.
— The Sports Shop Radio Show (@TheSportsShop1) August 30, 2018