Serena shocks sis Venus

New York, September 4:

Eight-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams advanced to the semi-finals of the US Open on Wednesday, coming-from-behind in a pair of tie-breakers to defeat sister Venus 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (9/7).

Venus and Serena have met twice in the US Open final with the older Venus winning in 2001 before losing to Serena the following year. This was another classic Williams sister summit, featuring long rallies and precision shot-making but also a number of uncharactistic errors from Venus.

Serena booked a semi-final berth against Russian Dinara Safina, who defeated Flavia Pennetta 6-2, 6-3 in the other quarter-final on Wednesday. The other semi-final features Russian Elena Dementieva facing Jelena Jankovic of Serbia on Friday. Fourth seed Serena dug deep in both tie-breakers. Seventh seed Venus jumped out to identical 4-2 leads in each tie-breaker before allowing Serena to claw her way back into it and eventually take the match.

Serena survived four set points and won the final three points of the match in the second tie-breaker. The first set was similar, as Serena took back two set points and won the final four points of the tie-breaker. Serena, who hasn’t dropped a set at this year’s US Open through the first five rounds, clinched it when Venus sent a shot long. Venus challenged the ruling but was unable to get the linesman’s call overturned and then walked to the net to congratulate her sister.

On men’s side, World No 1 Rafael Nadal battled back and advanced to his first US Open semi-final by defeating 35th-ranked American Mardy Fish 3-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-2. The reigning Wimbledon, French Open and Olympic champion from Spain ousted Fish after two hours and 40 minutes. Nadal will face British sixth seed Andy Murray in Saturday’s semi-finals of the year’s last Grand Slam.

Nadal could match Rod Laver, Pete Sampras and Roger Federer as the only men to win three Slam titles in a row in the 40-year Open era. The only Spaniard to win the US Open was Manuel Orantes in 1975, when the event was played on clay. Left-hander Nadal has a 5-0 career record against Murray, who reached his first Grand Slam final with a 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (7/1), 4-6, 7-5 victory over Argentina’s 19-year-old Juan Martin Del Potro.