NEW YORK — Serena Williams overcame a right ankle injury to sweep sister Venus 6-1, 6-2 in the U.S. Open third round on Friday night, tying the most one-sided result of their 30 career matches.
She called it her best match since returning from giving birth to daughter Olympia last Sept. 1. She also said Venus is “the only reason I’m still out here.”
“It’s the best match she’s ever played against me,” Venus said. “I don’t think I did a lot wrong. But she just did everything right.”
Serena moved to 18-12 in the head-to-head series that began at the pro level in 1998 but really dates three decades to their Southern California upbringing. Only one other time has one sister failed to win four games — Serena’s 6-1, 6-2 win in the 2013 Charleston Open final.
“It’s not easy. She’s my best friend.” Serena said after they embraced and she gave a subdued wave to the crowd. “Every time she loses, I feel like I do.”
Their match at Arthur Ashe Stadium was their earliest in a Grand Slam since their first meeting in the 1998 Australian Open second round.
The two women with 30 combined Grand Slam singles titles played so early here because of Serena’s maternity leave. Her ranking was not protected for the absence, which meant Serena was ranked No. 26 going into the U.S. Open even with making the Wimbledon final last month.
Serena advanced to the fourth round to face Estonian Kaia Kanepi. She is four match wins from tying Margaret Court‘s record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles with a seventh U.S. Open.
Serena received medical treatment in the first set on her heavily taped right ankle.
“I actually roll my ankles a lot, so I just was wanting to get it taped as tight as I could for the rest of the match,” she said. “See how I feel tomorrow.”
Venus had won their most recent match, 6-3, 6-4 at Indian Wells in March, Serena’s first WTA event since childbirth.
They also played in Serena’s last match before her maternity leave. Serena won the 2017 Australian Open final 6-4, 6-4 while eight weeks pregnant.
“It was two against one,” Venus joked Wednesday. “At least this time it’ll be fair.”
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