Serena vs. Venus, Episode Six
Serena and Venus Williams will play on Saturday for the sixth time in a major final. And for the fourth year in a row, one member of the family will gain the Wimbledon singles trophy.Updated: Jul 05, 2003 16:08 IST
Serena and Venus Williams will play on Saturday for the sixth time in a major final. And for the fourth year in a row, one member of the family will gain the Wimbledon singles trophy. Serena is the overwhelming favorite.
Venus is the sentimental choice.
Serena's victory in the semifinals over Justine Henin-Hardenne to avenge a loss in the French Open was flawless, a 6-3, 6-2 display of power and concentration.
The Williams sisters have met in four of the past five Grand Slam finals, including Wimbledon last year, with Serena winning them all. Serena is 39-1 in her past six Grand Slam events, and Venus is 26-1 at Wimbledon over the past four years.
Serena, 21, practiced Friday on the lush Aorangi Park courts next to Wimbledon.
"I feel great, great," she said.
Venus, 23, skipped practice.
She aggravated an abdominal strain _ picked up two months ago _ in her three-set semifinal victory over Kim Clijsters, 4-6, 6-3, 6-1. She needed a medical timeout in the match, was seen later by a trainer, and benefited from an hour rain delay.
"I'm trying to get as much rest as possible," she said Friday. "I had treatment from my trainer at home and I'm feeling better." She said she didn't consider pulling out of Thursday's semifinal, although several times she doubled over and used her racket to prop her up.
And the final?
"If I'm less than 100 percent, I'll still be out there," she said. "But I don't think my strain is as bad as the first time." A women's final at Wimbledon has never seen a player retire with an injury _ or be unfit to start the match. Two men's finals have ended that way. The 1911 final ended when H. Roper Barnett retired in the fifth set, giving the title to Anthony Wilding. In 1931, Sidney Wood Jr. won in a walkover when Francis Shields was unable to compete.
Serena has won five Grand Slam titles, but if she wins Saturday it will be the first time she has won the same major consecutively. Venus has won four Slams and is appearing in her fourth straight Wimbledon final.
Overall head-to-head, Serena has a 6-5 edge and has won the last five matches.
"It will be great to defend a Grand Slam title for the first time," Serena said. "I've always loved to make history."
First Published: Jul 05, 2003 12:13 IST