Williams sisters to put family ties to ultimate test

Mon Sep 7, 2015 4:28pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Family ties will be stretched to the limit when Serena and Venus Williams clash in a compelling U.S. Open quarter-final on Tuesday where much more than sibling bragging rights will be on the line.

A win by Venus would keep the 35-year-old on track for a first grand slam title since 2008 Wimbledon and a possible return to the U.S. Open final where she first made the final in her debut in 1997.

But a victory would end little sister Serena's quest for the rarest of tennis feats - a calendar-year grand slam.

After wins at the Australian, French and Wimbledon, Serena will enter the Arthur Ashe Stadium court just three victories from joining the exclusive club whose short membership list includes Maureen Connolly, Margaret Court and Steffi Graf.

"Pretty clear what's up for grabs here," said Venus following her fourth-round win over Estonian Anett Kontaveit on Sunday. "I think people love to see history being made.

"No one is out to be a spoiler, but at the same time, you're focused on winning your match."

Certainly there are no secrets between the sisters who will know exactly what to expect having played each other since they were first handed rackets growing up in the hard-scrabble Los Angeles Compton neighborhood and began an unlikely and inspiring journey to the top of their sport.

As professionals they have clashed 26 times with Serena holding the advantage 15-11.   Continued...

Serena Williams of the U.S.A. embraces Venus Williams of the U.S.A. after winning their match at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, July 6, 2015.                  REUTERS/Toby Melville