Serena and Venus Williams have been playing each other ever since they were kids growing up in Compton, California.
Even though the face across the net may be familiar, the environs will form a slightly bigger stage. Not that the four-time Olympic gold medalist tennis players are strangers to a big stage.
The Williams sisters each won their second-round matchups at the US Open on Wednesday, setting up the 30th meeting of their professional careers. Serena holds the all-time edge, 17-12, and has won eight of the last 10.
Venus Williams, ranked No. 16, took care of business earlier in the day, dispatching Italy’s Camila Giorgi 6-4, 7-5. But the straight-sets victory wasn’t total smooth sailing, as Williams scored just 13 of her 82 points off her own winners. World No. 40 Giorgi made 41 unforced and 28 forced errors in the match.
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"The last time we played in Australia it was two against one so this time it will be fair," Venus joked after her match, referencing the sisters’ last Grand Slam meeting at the 2017 Australian Open, where Serena was pregnant.
Serena, clad in a periwinkle tutu to follow up her black number from the first round, took care of Germany’s Carina Woetthoeft, 6-2, 6-2. Ranked 17th, Williams dialed in her serve in the first set and used it to great effect. She fired 13 aces, and her fastest serve clocked in at 121 mph.
The Williams sisters first met as professionals at the 1998 Australian Open, with older sister Venus edging Serena 7-6 (4), 6-1. Venus also won their first meeting at the US Open, winning 6-2, 6-4 in 2001. But since then it has mostly been all Serena, including in Grand Slam events where she holds a 10-5 career advantage.
While they have an extensive history as adversaries, they have played much more often as teammates, winning 22 doubles titles together, including three Olympic gold medals in 2000, 2008 and 2012.
Todd Kortemeier is a sportswriter, editor and children’s book author from Minneapolis. He is a contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.