Tennis: Venus sets up all-Williams clash at Italian Open

Venus Williams returns the ball to Elise Mertens, during their WTA Masters tournament tennis match on May 13, 2019, at the Foro Italico in Rome.
Venus Williams returns the ball to Elise Mertens, during their WTA Masters tournament tennis match on May 13, 2019, at the Foro Italico in Rome. PHOTO: AFP

ROME (AFP) - Venus Williams will take on her sister Serena in the second round of the Italian Open after battling past Elise Mertens 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (7/4) in Rome on Monday (May 13).

Williams came out on top of a tight contest that went all the way to a third-set tie-break despite her winning five games on the bounce, letting the Belgian back in by missing six match points on her serve in the eighth game.

She missed a further two match points as Mertens battled to level the set at 6-6, before finally taking the match in the tie-break and setting up a headline-grabbing clash with her 10th-seed sibling.