Indian Wells: Williams Sisters Clash At Third Round

Alicia Farmer
March 13, 2018

Serena Williams set up a mouth-watering Indian Wells third round showdown against her sister Venus with a straight-sets victory over Kiki Bertens on Saturday.

This will be the 29th time the sisters have played each other in a Women's Tennis Association match and first since the final of last year's Australian Open, when Serena Williams was a 6-4, 6-4 victor.

Most of those have been late-round matches, but this one comes under different circumstances with Serena being unranked due to her long layoff.

They met for the first time in the second round of the 1998 Australian Open which Venus won 7-6 (7/4), 6-1. Venus preceded her younger sister on the stadium court and beat Sorana Cirstea of Romania 6-3, 6-4.

Asked about the semi-final match that never happened, Serena said she has tried to forget. "The undercurrent of racism was painful, confusing and unfair", she wrote. "In a game I loved with all my heart, at one of my most cherished tournaments, I suddenly felt unwelcome, alone and afraid". After that, she's lost all three matches to Serena - including last year's Australian Open final.

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"I would prefer to play someone else, anybody else, literally anybody else, but it has to happen now". In an interview with BBC, Serena said, "It's been hard". "Seventeen years seems like forever ago".

Venus and Serena's father and coach Richard Williams, claimed that that he and his daughters were racially abused and neither of the sisters played in the tournament for the next 14 years.

Serena went on to beat Kim Clijsters in the final, but was booed throughout the match and during the presentation ceremony as fans believed the Williams' were match fixing.

The early meeting is the result of Serena Williams being unranked and not being among the tournament's 32 seeded female players because of her maternity leave. "We can always stay in the tournament longer if the both of us are in the tournament. We have a great little family going on". So it's definitely a lot easier to play later on.

While her business experience includes several endorsement deals through brands like Nike and Gatorade, she also serves as a minority owner of the Miami Dolphins alongside her tennis-playing sister, Venus Williams. "When she's missing, it's not by much".

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