serena & venus

*Venus Williams has just claimed the biggest scalp on in women’s tennis by taking down her sister in Montreal.

On Saturday in a Rogers Cup semifinal, Venus played not only her little sister, but the WTA’s current world no. 1 and the tournament’s defending champion, Serena Williams, winning the match in three hard fought sets at 6-7,6-2,6-3.

It was a thoroughly entertaining match that could’ve gone either way.

Serena was her big-serving self, firing down 19 aces to keep her afloat during the match, but Venus’s usually erratic serve remained reliable throughout, producing six aces of her own and seven fewer double faults than Serena. Venus dictated play during the match with bludgeoning ground strokes and great shot making, keeping Serena on her heels. Though Serena took the first set by dominating in a tiebreaker, she was unable to sink her teeth in the last two, becoming visibly frustrated by the turn of events as she’s been known to do.

Venus being the eldest of the two (who are already outside the age bracket for the best results in tennis) and battling an energy depleting disease (Sjogren’s), many thought the 7-time Slam winner would run out of gas against her younger sister … but not so. Those factors didn’t matter and neither did the fact that she played two grueling 3-setters on consecutive days (Angelique Kerber and Carla Suarez Navarro) to arrive in the semis. She dug into her obviously deep reserves and found the will to beat her Serena for the first time in 5 years, only dropping serve once.

Contrary to past critiques of matches between the two, the 2-hour match lacked no quality. Both Williams sisters were firing on all cylinders, but Venus, currently ranked at world no. 26 (20 after the win), was simply a little bit better. The unforced errors to winners ratio, net points won and serving percentages were good for both, but Venus’s stats trumped Serena’s just enough to pull off the upset.

After an across-the-net-hug, Serena Williams will now set off to compete in Cincinnati in a mandatory joint WTA and ATP tournament (with Venus to follow after her final on Sunday) which is the next step on the road to the upcoming US Open. For Venus, the big win now firmly places her in the conversation of possible favorites in New York major, which starts at the end of the month.

Venus Williams has come a long way from not being able to string together consecutive wins to reach the business end of tournaments and with each win against a top ten player she not only validates her chances to win another major, but also inspires fans and foes with her ability to beat the odds.

She’ll meet either Poland’s Agniezska Radwanska or Germany’s Ekaterina Makarova in Sunday’s final.