History of the Serena vs. Venus Williams rivalry at the Australian Open

Thursday January 26th, 2017

In the Australian Open final on Saturday, Serena Williams and Venus Williams will meet for the 28th time in their careers and the third time at the Australian Open. Serena is 16-11 against her older sister, including a 6-1 mark over their last seven matches. 

Tennis
No. 13-seed Venus Williams into Australian Open final against sister Serena

No. 2-seed Serena Williams beat Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 6-2, 6-1 to advance to her 29th major final, as she bids for her 23rd career Grand Slam title. With her win over fellow American CoCo Vandeweghe in the semifinals on Wednesday, Venus advanced to a Grand Slam final for the first time since Wimbledon 2009, where she was runner-up to—you guessed it—her younger sister. Then-No. 2-seeded Serena edged No. 3-seeded Venus 7-6(3), 6-2.

Ahead of Saturday’s final, let’s look back at the two previous matches the Williams sisters have played at the Australian Open in Melbourne.

Second round, 1998: Venus d. Serena, 7-6(4), 6-1

AP Photo/Rick Stevens

This second round match in Melbourne marked the first time Venus and Serena played each against other in a professional tennis competition. 17-year-old Venus was seeded No. 16 and defeated Serena 7-6(4), 6-1.

“I feel good that I won,” Venus said after the match. “Even though it was Serena, I'm still a competitor. After the match I told her, ‘Serena, I’m sorry I took you out. I didn't want to, but I had to do it.’”

In the next two years of their careers, Venus and Serena faced each other three more times, with Venus winning each match-up, before Serena was finally able to win in the semifinals at Indian Wells in 2001.

Final, 2003: Serena d. Venus, 7-6(4), 3-6, 6-4   

AP Photo/Rick Stevens

The Williams sisters’ meeting at the 2003 Australian Open marked the fourth consecutive major final between the two, but the first final at the Australian Open. By advancing to the final, Venus and Serena also became the first players in the Open Era to face each other in four straight Grand Slam finals.

Serena avenged her loss to her sister in 1998 and won the match 7–6(4), 3–6, 6–4. The victory marked the completion of the first “Serena Slam,” where Serena became the first player since Steffi Graf to hold all four Grand Slams at the same time.  

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