NDIAN WELLS, California — Venus and Serena Williams squared off for their 29th career matchup in their careers, during the third round of the BNP Paribas Open – with Venue coming out on top, 6-3, 6-4 on Monday night.
The win was the first for Venus against Serena Williams in four years, since August 2014 at the Rogers Cup in Montreal, and the first matchup where Venus was the higher-ranked player since the sisters met at Bangalore in March 2008.
“I’m just lucky that I’ve played more matches than her right now,” Venus said in a postmatch on-court interview. “She just came roaring back. I had chances for the match to be over, but it wasn’t.”
They played Monday night for the first time since last year’s Australian Open final, when a pregnant Serena won her 23rd Grand Slam title.
“I definitely know her well, but she definitely played a little bit better than she normally does,” Serena said. “She served very consistently. She just did everything great.”
Serena, who was unseeded in the tournament, leads Venus 17-12 in head-to-head meetings. She played in her first WTA tournament after a 14-month layoff for the birth of her first child.
“It’s different, I haven’t played in over a year. It’s definitely not less disappointing, I wish it was. But then I wouldn’t be who I am. … I just have a long way to go and I look forward to the journey,” Serena added.
Venus closed out the 1 ½-hour match on her second match point when Serena’s forehand service return sailed long. It was one of Serena’s 41 unforced errors, including 17 on the forehand side.
— WTA (@WTA) 13 mars 2018
ROGER FEDERER PRAISES WILLIAMS SISTERS
Men’s World No.1 Roger Federer praiseD Venus and Serena Williams after the sisters clashed in the third round of the BNP Paribas Open.
“Longevity and dominance – they showed that. They had a massive arrival on the scene, a lot of buzz around them, and they lived up to the hype, came out and crushed it,” said Federer, following his own third-round match.
“From the very beginning, they were very interesting to follow. I think they hardly played any juniors, really, which made it more of a mystery, because you just didn’t know exactly what to expect from them.”
Both have dealt with illness and injury to maintain their careers at the top – another achievement the Swiss admires.
“For many years we were worried that they were going to check out early with sickness or injuries. We weren’t sure if they’re going to play as long as we hoped them to play,” he said.
“And here we are. They are both over 35, 36, and still basically playing at the top – Serena being a mom now, Venus overcame a lot of also difficult situations and still playing.”
Roger Federer added that he hoped Serena would continue to combine tennis and motherhood successfully, saying: “I think that’s going to be a huge story, maybe the story of the year. Hopefully she decides to play a lot and enjoy herself in the process and get back to who knows how high? It almost doesn’t matter, but it would just be amazing to see her do it now.”