Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Williamses win to set a final to talk about

WIMBLEDON, England — The most unusual and, at times, uncomfortable rivalry in tennis is once more in the spotlight at the pinnacle of the sport: Venus Williams plays younger sister Serena on Saturday in their third all-in-the-family Wimbledon final.

It's their seventh Grand Slam title match — Serena holds a 5-1 edge — but first final at any event since 2003, at Wimbledon.

"We're going to stop talking to each other now until the final," Serena joked after the sisters easily won their semifinals in straight sets Thursday.

Not talking would be difficult. For one thing, the sisters are in the doubles semifinals today. For another, they're sharing an apartment during the tournament.

"It would have been kind of weird if we didn't talk to each other," Serena said, then added mischievously: "Maybe I should try that. It will be like really intimidating or something."

The siblings' paths to their 16th head-to-head matchup — Serena leads 8-7 — were remarkably similar.

Neither has lost a set in the tournament. Defending champion Venus, seeded seventh, won her semifinal 6-1, 7-6 (7-3) over fifth seed Elena Dementieva to advance to her seventh Wimbledon final and a chance for her fifth title. Serena hit 14 aces in a 6-2, 7-6 (7-5) victory over 133rd-ranked Zheng Jie of China. Each Williams won 80 of the 141 points in her match.

"I'm definitely surprised," Serena said of the five-year gap of the sisters meeting in a Grand Slam final. "… But it's good. I mean, this is a new start for us."

Many of their matches against each other have been error-filled, awkward affairs in which neither the crowd nor the combatants were able to give full throat to their emotions. During their French Open final in 2002, one spectator summed up the confusion by shouting, "Allez (Come on) Serenus!"

There have been past suggestions, never proven, that the Williamses decided within their tennis family which sister would win when they played. The Williamses have always scoffed at such allegations, but the issue resurfaced Thursday when Dementieva analyzed the final by saying "For sure, it's going to be a family decision."

In 2001 at a tournament in Indian Wells, Calif., Dementieva was one of the players who created early concern by saying of their father, Richard Williams, "I think he will decide who is going to win tomorrow" before his daughters played in a semi.

Venus reacted angrily to any suggestion of an arranged result. "I find the question pretty offensive, because I'm extremely professional in everything that I do on and off the court," she said. "I contribute my best in my sport, and I also have a ton of respect for myself and my family."

Dementieva, a Russian, later issued a statement saying she had been misunderstood because her English is not good: "I do not think for one second that matches between Serena and Venus Williams are family decisions. What I meant was it is a unique situation for a family to be in, to be playing for a Grand Slam title. I cannot imagine what it must be like. I have a lot of respect for Serena and Venus."

>>FAST FACTS

Also Thursday

Men's quarters: Rainer Schuettler d. Arnaud Clement 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (8-6), 6-7 (7-9), 8-6, completion of suspended match

Today

Men's semi: Roger Federer (1) vs. Marat Safin; Rafael Nadal (2) vs. Schuettler

TV: 7 a.m., ESPN2; noon, Ch. 8.

Williamses win to set a final to talk about 07/03/08 [Last modified: Monday, November 1, 2010 2:22pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Luke Del Rio regains UF starting job, for now

    College

    GAINESVILLE — Luke Del Rio is once again the starting quarterback for No. 21 Florida.

    Luke Del Rio provided a needed spark when he replaced starter Feleipe Franks and rallied Florida past Kentucky.
  2. Four questions the Lightning still has to answer

    Lightning Strikes

    FORT LAUDERDALE — The Lightning made its biggest round of cuts Monday, with some of the big-named prospects heading out.

    Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos (91) looks on from the bench during a shift change at Lightning hockey training camp in Brandon on Monday (09/18/17). In background on right is Nikita Kucherov (86). DIRK SHADD   |   Times  

  3. Nine Florida football players, 62 felony complaints in fraud scandal

    College

    GAINESVILLE — The fraud scandal that has engulfed the University of Florida's nationally ranked football team for weeks exploded Monday with the first detailed accounts of criminal accusations that threaten to derail the Gators' season.

    Florida Gators wide receiver Antonio Callaway (81) runs the ball during the Outback Bowl in January at Raymond James Stadium. [CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times]
  4. Where Rays shortstop Matt Duffy's lost season leads

    The Heater

    BRADENTON — In a perfect world Matt Duffy would have been in New York on Monday with his Rays teammates enjoying the final off day of the year. Instead, he was on Field 4 at Pirate City on a sweltering afternoon, trying to restart his season.

    Rays shortstop Matt Duffy plays in his first game (since rehab was aborted) with the club's instructional league on Monday at the Pirate City baseball field and spring training complex in Bradenton [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times]
  5. Vinny Lecavalier's jersey retirement will be another classic Vinny moment

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — He was the face of the franchise. He was taken first overall in the 1998 NHL Draft by a franchise at the bottom. Art Williams, the nutty Tampa Bay Lightning owner at the time, proclaimed the 18-year-old from Ile Bizard, a Montreal borough, "the Michael Jordan of hockey."

    Vincent Lecavalier makes a break for the net while playing an exhibition game on Sunday (9/24/17) with the 2017 U.S. Women???‚??„?s National Team at Amalie Arena in Tampa. Lecavalier was the captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning for the 2000???‚??€œ2001 season and between the 2008???‚??€œ2013 and spent his first 14 NHL seasons with the Tampa Bay Lightning before signing with the Philadelphia Flyers.