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Serena wins the battle

An out-of-form Serena pulls off a thrilling 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (4) victory in the semis against sister Venus Williams, reports Deepika Sharma.

sports Updated: Mar 09, 2008 18:19 IST
Deepika Sharma

It's been almost three long years since the world witnessed one of the most-loved rivalries in international tennis. It is a rivalry that has only been sweet and never bitter. Eight and six-time Grand Slam champions Serena and Venus Williams are each other’s favourite — not just as fierce competitors when they play each other but primarily off the battlefield.

They had last met in the fourth round of the 2005 US Open and the wait of seeing them play each other once again ended at the WTA Tier II $6,00,000 Bangalore Open on a Super Saturday. <b1>

Unlike their previous face-off, where Venus won in straight sets, it was an out-of-form Serena who pulled off a thrilling 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (4) victory in the semifinals in Bangalore.

In the end, there were no hugs and kisses exchanged. They only shook hands like professionals. The American sweethearts entertained the crowd especially in the nail-biting final set tie-breaker.

World No 10 Serena now plays Patty Schnyder who made China's Yan Zi taste the bitter Swiss chocolate in straight sets 6-3, 6-4 in the other semifinal.

In a close match, where the tennis gurus would not be too happy with quality of tennis, both players were erratic and clearly not at their best.

But the one area where Serena seemed to have completely overpowered her sister was with the serves. She fired seven aces compared to Venus's two and even had a higher first serve percentage.

There weren't too many brilliant rallies except for the one in the second set where both the players returned well from the baseline before Serena hit a forehand into the net.

Ranked no 8 in the world, Venus took the second after breaking Serena twice and winning the set on Serena's serve. The crowd got full worth of their money when the final set went into a tie-break. Serena played a better game winning the set and the match.
After the match, Serena said that despite the long gap, the feeling was nothing new on playing her sister. "We have played a lot together. We have practiced a lot too. I really felt as if I had played her yesterday.”
"I feel, both of us were not at our best today. But we are getting there."

In the other semifinal, Schnyder, who had been stretched to three sets in all her previous matches, seemed to have step onto the court with a strategy — one that proved very successful.

The Swiss, swirling as much as her long hair, executed whatever she'd planned to perfection. For the Chinese wonder there was only disappointment in store. The World No. 12 Schynder looked solid throughout the match and did not give a single chance to her opponent.
Schnyder sizzled with her powerful kick-serves and used a lot of spin in her shots. An off-colour Zi allowed a lot of errors to flow from her racquet.