NEW YORK • Serena Williams has said her win over sister Venus at the US Open on Friday was more meaningful than those she scored when they were teenagers because they realise they have only a limited number of years left in the game.
Serena, who will be 37 next month, showed her 38-year-old sister no mercy in their third-round thrashing - 6-1, 6-2.
"I feel like we want it so bad now," a reflective Serena said.
"I mean, we wanted it really bad when we were younger but we had a lot more years in our future.
"Now, we definitely want to continue to play, but it's not like we're 18 and 19 any more."
The sisters first met as professionals at the 1998 Australian Open when Serena was 16 and Venus 17 and have played a total of 30 times, with the younger sibling coming out on top in 18 of those matches.
Their most recent Grand Slam clash was at last year's Australian Open final, which Serena won while pregnant - a testament to their longevity and willpower since that first meeting 20 years ago.
SELECTED DAY 5 RESULTS
MEN'S 3RD RD
Rafael Nadal (Esp) bt Karen Khachanov (Rus) 5-7 7-5 7-6 (9-7) 7-6 (7-3), Dominic Thiem (Aut) bt Taylor Fritz (US) 3-6 6-3 7-6 (7-5) 6-4, Kevin Anderson (Rsa) bt Denis Shapovalov (Can) 4-6 6-3 6-4 4-6 6-4, Juan Martin del Potro (Arg) bt Fernando Verdasco (Esp) 7-5 7-6 (8-6) 6-3, Milos Raonic (Can) bt Stan Wawrinka (Sui) 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 6-3.
WOMEN'S 3RD RD
Kaia Kanepi (Est) bt Rebecca Peterson (Swe) 6-3 7-6 (7-3), Ashleigh Barty (Aus) bt Karolina Muchova (Cze) 6-3 6-4, Karolina Plískova (Cze) bt Sofia Kenin (USA) 6-4 7-6 (7-2), Sloane Stephens (US) bt Victoria Azarenka (Blr) 6-3 6-4, Elina Svitolina (Ukr) bt Wang Qiang (Chn) 6-4 6-4.
But Friday's match also seemed to signify a turning point for both sisters. Serena, who improved to an 18-12 overall record against her sister and 11-6 in Grand Slams, has come a long way since she lost to Venus 6-3, 6-4 at Indian Wells in March in her first tournament back this year after giving birth.
At Arthur Ashe Stadium, Serena revealed another level, one that mirrors her desire to notch another milestone and tie Margaret Court's record by winning her 24th Major.
Her sharpness - she hit 10 aces, 34 winners, never lost her serve and won 88 per cent of the points off her first serve - was something fans had not yet seen in her comeback. But there is a cognitive dissonance when they play. The sisters almost never look at each other.
Serena nonetheless dazzled with her precision. She pulled her sister around the court like she was attached on a string.
"I think it's the best match she's ever played against me," Venus said. "I don't think I did a lot wrong. She just did everything right."
For Venus, the match ends something of a lacklustre Grand Slam season, but she dismissed any thought of retiring after 80 appearances in a Grand Slam main draw, the most of any woman in the Open era.
"We don't sit around and reflect," she said. "You work hard and look forward. As soon as you beat one person, there's another one standing in front of you."
For the Williams sisters, the story continues for now.
"I love her with all my heart, she's the only reason I'm still out here," Serena said of Venus.
REUTERS, WASHINGTON POST
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