Williams sisters may just be about writing another eventful family history as they prepare to meet in a Grand Slam final for the ninth time after the American sisters came through their semi-finals in Melbourne.
36-year-old Venus, beat fellow American, Coco Vandeweghe 6-7 (3-7) 6-2 6-3 to reach her first major final since 2009. While younger sister and world number two Serena, 35, saw off unseeded Croat Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 6-2 6-1 in the second semi-final.
The Grand Slam final on Saturday will be the Williams sisters first against each other since Wimbledon 2009 when Serena won in straight sets.
While Venus hopes to win an eighth major title, first in Melbourne and first since Wimbledon in 2008, it would also be a seventh Australian Open victory for the younger of the Williams sisters. Serena is attempting to win an Open-era record of a 23rd Grand Slam singles title
Overshadowed by Serena for much of her career, Venus has lost 16 of 27 matches overall, nine of 14 grand slams contests and six of eight major finals to her younger sister.
Venus is the oldest women’s finalist in the Open era (post-1968). No woman has waited as long — 14 years — between Melbourne Park finals. It will be the five-time Wimbledon and dual US Open champion’s 14th major final. At 36, Venus the five-time Wimbledon champion and former world No 1 dares to dream.
Speaking after her semi-finals win against Coco Vandeghe, the older of the Williams sisters insists vengeance will play no part in the final showdown.
In her words:
“These are words (revenge and vengeance) I never use,” she said after toppling Coco Vandeghe to set up the first all-Williams major final since Wimbledon in 2009 and the first here since 2003.
“When I’m playing on the court with her, I think I’m playing, like, the best competitor in the game. I don’t think I’m chump change either, you know. I can compete against any odds. No matter what, I get out there and I compete. So it’s like two players who really, really can compete, then also they can play tennis.
“Then, okay, (it) won’t be an easy match. It’s like I know that it won’t be easy. You have to control yourself, then you also have to hopefully put your opponent in a box. This opponent is your sister, and she’s super awesome. It’s wonderful.”
The older Williams journey to get to her first Australian Open final since 2003 was long and tough, especially after she was diagnosed with autoimmune disorder Sjogren’s Syndrome in 2011.
Venus’ coach, David Witt, told reporters that when she got into the quarterfinals, she was happy, when she got to the semis she was happier, and then she just didn’t know how to react after her semi-final win. She hasn’t been in a grand slam final in a while. She was ecstatic,” he said.
Serena’s coach, Frenchman Patrick Mouratoglou, however, expects a “war” on Saturday. He says:
“If they are sisters and have been housemates for much of their lives, they’re competitors, even against their sister.
“It goes back to when they were 12 and playing Monopoly and one lost and got really angry and wanted to kill her sister — and at the same time, they adore each other.
“This is the same — it’s a tennis match, it’s their work but even if it wasn’t their work, if they’re on a court, they don’t want to lose to anybody — and maybe even less against their sister.”
According to Serena, the siblings making it to the grand slam finals was a testament to the Williams’ staying power that they were still fighting for titles at their age.
“I’ve been doing this for many years. The past few years I’ve been super-consistent. But yeah, I’m just really happy for Venus, obviously. She’s doing amazing.
“I’m really happy for Mirjana, as well. I was there when she first started. To see her be able to never give up actually is super-inspiring to me. It’s a wonderful story.”