Wednesday, 20 June, 2018

Venus rises above sister Serena

Venus Williams consoles her sister Serena after winning their third round match at Indian Wells on Tuesday Venus Williams consoles her sister Serena after winning their third round match at Indian Wells on Tuesday
Lucia Summers | 14 March, 2018, 23:24

That's admittedly an odd thought with so much tennis yet to be played at the BNP Paribas Open, but it's hard to imagine a tougher ask of Williams than what she accomplished in back-to-back third- and fourth-round matches at Indian Wells.

Serena looked good in both matches before facing Venus, picking up speed after the first set, finding her timing and power.

Venus took the lead in the first set but a ruthless Serena bounced back to take the next two set, taking the title she had won the previous year.

Williams has not dropped a single set en route to the last eight in California and backed up her victory over younger sister Serena in the third round, who was playing in her first event since having her first child last September, to secure a 7-6 (8/6) 6-4 win.

It was Venus' first win in this rivalry since 2014 and the first straight-set win since 2008. "That's also why you see a lot of upsets", she said. A packed stadium awaited their semifinal but shortly before the match was to begin Venus withdrew with a right knee injury.

But the seven-time Grand Slam champ has already shown she's up for the challenge. She saved a break point at 5-4 though with a potent serve into the body while another big serve clinched victory on a second match point.

The 20-year-old Kasatkina improved to 11-6 on the WTA Tour season as she seeks to better her quarter-final appearance here in 2016.

Sunny skies in Boulder today with a high of 55
Breezy, with a south southwest wind 8 to 13 miles per hour increasing to 15 to 20 miles per hour in the afternoon. Winds still blow from the west at 10 to 15 miles per hour , with gusts into the 20s or even 30s at times.

"So I have just got to keep saying each tournament my goal is just to be better than the last, and I don't - definitely don't want to go backwards".

In her first match back, Serena beat Zarina Diyas, the 53rd-ranked player in the world.

"It's definitely not less disappointing", Serena said as she reflected on the defeat. "I knew that I had to change something, but I didn't realize what it was exactly", she said. My room for improvement is incredible.

But the beginning of 2018 didn't go according to plan as Sakkari lost her openers in Shenzhen, Sydney, Melbourne, St. Petersburg and Doha before claiming her first of the year in the qualifying rounds in Dubai. I don't know how long Serena (and Venus, for that matter) has left at the top, but I wouldn't bet against her getting back on track. She came up short on some shots that she would have made in her prime.

"There was no conserving energy", Williams said of her game plan against Sevastova. Serena was booed throughout the final before she beat Clijsters in three sets for her second title in the desert. If she continues to play at the level she has so far, her first title at Indian Wells seems well within her grasp. "Serena came roaring back". But everybody is playing like this when they are 16.

"You just have to reset your mind and focus on the round you're in", Williams said.

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