23 times Grand Slam champion Serena Williams on Thursday knocked her sister Venus Williams out of the inaugural edition of the Top Seed Open in a thrilling encounter to advance into the quarterfinals.
Serena, number one seed, overcame the first-set defeat and won the next two sets. She defeated Venus 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in a match that lasted for two hours and 19 minutes at the Centre Court in Kentucky.
“I’ve lost a few tight sets lately, so I was telling myself I really wanted to win this one and try to focus on those last two games,” Serena said in her on-court interview as per the WTA website.
“I’m super relaxed. Having no crowd sort of makes things more relaxing. I’ve practised in louder places than this court!”
“I honestly didn’t come here to win. For the first time in my career, I came here to win some matches and see what happens. I haven’t had this much time off since the baby, so now I’m just trying to get some rhythm and see what happens,” she added.
Playing their first competition since the suspension of the WTA Tour in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the older Williams sister started the match on a positive note. Venus won the opening despite Serena taking a 2-0 lead.
However, the younger sister responded like her usual self and brought parity into the contest in the second set. Meanwhile, the game was interrupted with a 10-minute break due to the heat rule. But Serana came back and completed the formality of winning the second set.
The final set had some of the best dramatic moments of the encounter. After Venus had gone to lead 4-2, Serena scripted an incredible comeback and won three games on the trot to make the scoreline 5-4 in her favour.
Serving for the match, Serena stumbled initially to trail 15-30. But true to the sentiment of the match, she made another small comeback to finally being an end to the thriller.
It was Serena’s 19th overall win against her five-time Wimbledon Open champion sister in their 31st professional meeting. She will next face Shelby Rogers — who defeated rising Canadian star Leylah Annie Fernandez 6-2, 7-5 — for a spot in the semi-finals.