The 27th episode of the Serena v Venus head-to-head will take place on Tuesday night in what is likely to be one of their most memorable clashes based on the stature of the occasion. It seems kind of fitting in a weird way that Serena has to get past her sister if she is going to keep her hopes alive of claiming the Calendar Slam. Both Williams sisters produced superb performances on Sunday to set up their fifth showdown at the US Open.
Venus Williams played another sharp match, defeating Anett Kontaveit, 6-2 6-1 in just 50 minutes. Like her third round match against Belinda Bencic, Venus served exceptionally well. She was 100% on first serve points in the first set and dropped just nine points on serve throughout the entire match, of which three came in the final game where Kontaveit earnt a break point. The Estonian player started well and gave it a real good go. She tried to go toe-to-toe with Venus from the baseline. While there were a handful of superb rallies, Kontaveit was too erratic as she committed 21 unforced errors. Kontaveit can hit a mean ball but it was all at the same level and it allowed Venus, who was hitting the ball cleanly and moving well, to find her rhythm. Still, this was an excellent week for Kontaveit who will crack the world’s top 100 in next week’s rankings. Venus has reached the quarter-finals of the US Open for the 11th time, but the first time since 2010.
The Serena-Madison match was hotly anticipated but it didn’t quite live up to the billing. Keys didn’t play a bad match but a couple of costly lapses in service games was the difference with Serena playing an excellent match. Serena raised her level, knowing fully well of the threat that Keys posed. I had a weird feeling pre-match that this could be a classic but it was not to be. On the first point, Keys absolutely annihilated a return that nearly took off Williams’s feet. The younger American started with intent but Serena’s serve kept her at bay.
Serving at *3-4 in the first set, Keys produced back-to-back double faults to gift Serena a break. When serving for the set, the world number one was at 30-30 after missing a shot at the net that looked harder to miss! She recovered impeccably with a stunning shot on the run that found the corner and Keys could only net. Serena won the first set, 6-3.
Keys settled at the start of the second set, digging out an early hold from a precarious position. However, the pressure mounted again in the crucial game seven. There was an ear-piercing scream from Madison before Serena produced a neat angled return on a second serve that forced Keys out wide and into the net. The 20-year-old was unable to force Serena to serve it out, committing a double fault on match point. This has been another positive Slam performance from Keys. She didn’t play her best in this one although to be fair, opportunities were few and far between against a rock solid Serena who hit just SIX unforced errors.
This Serena-Venus clash promises to have an enthralling atmosphere. The pair won’t be around for much longer so I think their encounters will be more and more savoured whatever the result. Serena leads the head-to-head against Venus, 15-11. Serena has won six of their last seven matches with Venus’s lone win during that period coming in Montreal last year. Serena won in a blockbuster fourth rounder at Wimbledon, 6-4 6-3. Venus is serving great at the moment but… so is Serena. It was a little off during the Summer but Serena seems to have the serve working like clockwork again.
I think Serena’s got this one…
Prediction: Serena d. Venus in 2 sets