Williams Sisters To Clash, JJ Hits 500
Published April 05, 2013 12:00
CHARLESTON, SC, USA - The Williams sisters doubled up at the Family Circle Cup on Friday, powering through both their third round and quarterfinal matches after rain had disrupted play on Thursday - and now the two WTA legends will square off for the 24th time, and first time since 2009.
The No.5-seeded Venus Williams was the first of the two to move into the semifinals, taking out a pair of Americans, Varvara Lepchenko in the third round and Madison Keys in the quarterfinals. Her match with the No.12-seeded Lepchenko was a bit scratchy at times, as she lost the second set from 4-2 up, but she regrouped for a 62 46 62 win; her victory over Keys was by a more straightforward 64 64 scoreline, though she had to rally from an early break down in both sets against the up-and-comer.
"Lepchenko is definitely more methodical, heavy spin - she's very strong, and obviously has a lot of confidence, having gotten to the Top 20 and done a lot of things over the last year," Williams said. "It was so different than playing Madison. She plays similar to me - goes for a lot more, a lot more power. And she can create a lot of shots in the court, too. So they were definitely two polar opposites."
Williams was asked if she remembered the last time she had to play twice in one day. "The only time I actually remember is I was playing New Haven, and I remember either completing or playing a match first on, and then I played the night match, and then I played the final the next day at like noon," she commented. "I just remember my feet hurt so badly after that. It was three matches against top players in 24 hours, and it was just overload. So I'm really glad I don't have to play another one today!"
The No.1-seeded Serena Williams followed big sister into the semifinals, first defeating American qualifier Mallory Burdette in her third round match, 64 62, then taking out No.6 seed Lucie Safarova in a rematch of last year's final, 64 61 - she beat the Czech to capture the title here last year.
"It was really motivating to see Venus win today - I figured if she can win two matches, I have no excuse not to win my two matches," Williams said afterwards. "It's actually not that bad to play two matches in one day - it's not ideal, but I play doubles all the time, and so I looked at it like, 'Okay, I play singles and I play with Venus in doubles the same day.' So really that's how I looked at it."
Now the Williams sisters will play each other for the 24th time, Serena leading Venus in the head-to-head series, 13-10. It will be their first meeting since the final of the WTA Championships in 2009, when Serena beat Venus in straight sets - surprisingly it is only going to be their third career meeting on clay, with Venus winning at Rome in 1998 and Serena winning in the French Open final in 2002.
This will be the first time the Williams sisters have played against each other on green clay.
"It definitely feels like a long time ago," Serena commented. "But Venus is the toughest opponent I've ever played. I think she's beaten me the most out of any player. I know her game and she knows my game. I know where she's going to serve; she knows where I'm going to serve. I know her patterns; she knows mine - she probably knows mine better than I do. I think it'll be a great match tomorrow."
"I've seen her so many times - hopefully all the times I've sat in those stands watching her will give me a little help," Venus said. "I'm looking forward to it. Last year in Charleston I fell short and I didn't hold up my end of the bargain and make the semifinals, so I'm glad I took it step further this year."
One more quarterfinal match took place in the day session, with No.9 seed Jelena Jankovic cruising past Canadian qualifier Eugenie Bouchard in an hour and two minutes, 62 61. Jankovic has now won 13 of her last 15 matches but even bigger for the Serb was the win marked her 500th career match win.
"I actually didn't know that," Jankovic said. "I don't know who told me, but I was like, 'Really?'
"I don't really know what it feels like. I had no idea how many wins I had. I'm really bad with statistics. I don't follow any of that. But it's pretty nice. It's a great achievement to get my 500th win, and hopefully I can have many more. We'll see how it goes. I don't know how many players have done that.
"To have 500 wins you have to have a pretty long career and be pretty consistent."
The last quarterfinal match took place at night, with Stefanie Voegele rallying from 3-1 down in the third set to take out No.2 seed Caroline Wozniacki, 36 64 63. It was the Swiss' first ever Top 10 win.
"My plan was to play aggressive and push her around," Voegele said. "At the beginning of the match I was a little bit nervous - I was trying to play my game, but it didn't work very well in the first set. But then I started to do much better and tried to push myself harder, because she's so good.
"At the end I was just trying to play aggressive on every point and I'm very happy it worked."
Jankovic and Voegele will be playing against each other for the first time.