All eyes in the tennis world will be on sister showdown No. 27 when Venus and Serena Williams take the court on Tuesday night. Serena leads their head-to-head by 15-11, but the rivalry has been more one-sided of late, with Serena winning six of their last seven matches. Similarly, Serena leads their Grand Slam rivalry by 8-5 and has won their last three meetings at majors. They are deadlocked at 2-2 in US Open matches, with Serena prevailing in their last meeting, at the 2008 US Open quarterfinals.
There is nothing that the Williams sisters can do on court that will surprise the other. Both players will be serving at lightning-fast speeds and belting their ground strokes with full authority. Serena will hit a few more angles from the baseline and Venus will make a few more timely trips up to the net. Both of them will fight until the very last point, regardless of the fact that it’s their sister on the other side of the night.
Venus has a unique advantage against Serena’s previous opponents in that she knows exactly what to expect against her and won’t be intimidated by the occasion. But at 35 years old, this is one of her last true chances to win a Grand Slam title. It remains to be seen if that will enter her mind if the match gets tight. Meanwhile, Serena will look to continue to block out the fact that she’s chasing history and is only three matches away from achieving the Grand Slam, not to mention that she has to eliminate her sister from what could be one of her final US Open events.
The key for both players will be to get a high percentage of first serves in and look to strike first on the returns. The longer rallies will likely favor Serena, since Venus’ forehand can break down under pressure, but Venus has more variety and the ability to throw her sister out of her rhythm. Both of them will also look to get out to an early lead. Slow starts from either could result in a quick night on the court.