NEW YORK • Serena and Venus Williams added another chapter to what the world No. 1 claims is the greatest story in tennis when she outslugged her sister 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 on Tuesday to reach the semi-finals of the US Open.
There are few that would disagree with Serena that the sisters' rise from the hard-scrabble streets of Compton to the top of the tennis world is fascinating and inspiring.
But it is a story still being written and what unfolded at Flushing Meadows provided a chapter all its own with a plot revolving around what was an enthralling 27th meeting between the siblings.
"I think it's the greatest story in tennis because we really - you know, with how we started and how we grew up and how we were able to win championships and be, you know, such inspirations for so many women across the globe," said Serena.
"It doesn't get better than that."
NO QUARTER GIVEN
It's probably the toughest match I have played in a really, really, really long time where I wasn't actually beating myself.
Certainly, Serena seemed inspired on Tuesday as she and Venus both played with the fire and passion that had been missing from many of their other 26 head-to-head meetings.
Never before had so much been riding on the result.
THE STORY CONTINUES
She's really the best ever. So what are you going to do? Just try to make it. If you don't, then that's that and go to the next one.
Celebrities, including television mogul Oprah Winfrey, US presidential candidate Donald Trump and social media personality Kim Kardashian were among the 23,771 filling Arthur Ashe Stadium.
A win by 35-year-old Venus would move her a step closer to a first Grand Slam since 2008 Wimbledon. But it would scuttle Serena's chances of joining their sport's most exclusive club of calendar year Grand Slam winners.
It has just three members - Maureen Connolly, Margaret Court and Steffi Graf.
The top seed, winner of 21 Grand Slam singles titles, took charge of the opening set by securing service breaks in the fifth and seventh games of a match that felt like a heavyweight title bout after a brilliant start by Venus.
Venus looked more like the player who had claimed seven Grand Slam singles titles in the second set.
But Serena seized control early in the third and rode the momentum to a semi-final meeting with Roberta Vinci.
"It's probably the toughest match I have played in a really, really, really long time where I wasn't actually beating myself," said Serena.
"I think against any other player, she for sure would have won."
On paper, it will get easier for her.
Vinci, 32, will be making her first Grand Slam semi-final appearance and she has yet to beat Serena in four attempts.
"I have nothing to lose," the world No. 43 said after downing France's 40th-ranked Kristina Mladenovic 6-3, 5-7, 6-4.
"I have to play my game, aggressive, nothing special."
Serena might be two steps short of history but Venus insists the 33-year-old has nothing to prove.
"She's really the best ever," Venus said. "So what are you going to do? Just try to make it.
"If you don't, then that's that and go to the next one."
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Day 11: StarHub Ch201, tomorrow, 7am
US Open, q-finals
Men: Novak Djokovic (Srb) bt Feliciano Lopez (Esp) 6-1 3-6 6-3 7-6 (7-2),
Marin Cilic (Cro) bt Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (Fra) 6-4 6-4 3-6 6-7 (3-7) 6-4.
Women: Serena Williams (USA) bt Venus Williams (USA) 6-2 1-6 6-3,
Roberta Vinci (Ita) bt Kristina Mladenovic (Fra) 6-3 5-7 6-4.