Friday, July 3, 2009
Sisters beat top doubles seeds
WIMBLEDON, England -- The Williams doubles act put on a confident show on the eve of their Wimbledon final clash, making it clear the weight of facing each other as competitors has not put a strain on their relationship as teammates or sisters.
Full of encouragement and praise for each other, the cohesive pair swept past top doubles seeds Cara Black and Liezel Huber 6-1, 6-2 on Friday to land a place in a second Saturday final, but this time as partners.
"We're used to being in this position now, so we pretty much have it down," said Serena Williams, who has played sister Venus in the Wimbledon singles final three times before.
"There really is no effect. We just live our lives. It's not the end of the world," the 27-year-old added, exchanging smiles with her sister. "Sunday, Monday is still going to be here."
Chatting casually as they walked on to Court 1 for their doubles semifinal the sisters, who also own three Wimbledon women's doubles crowns, appeared unfazed by the thought of their impending head-to-head clash 24 hours later.
Despite both having played singles matches on Thursday -- with Serena's epic clocking in as the longest women's semifinal of the Open era -- neither showed signs of fatigue as they surged to a 5-0 lead in the first set.
Venus, who is chasing her sixth Wimbledon title, was confident the pair could maintain their energy levels ahead of Saturday's battle for the coveted Rosewater Dish.
"When you choose to play doubles you have to be in really good shape," said the 29-year-old. "If you're not, then it can actually affect your singles. But we love playing doubles."
The sisterly affection remained clear to see, with the duo touching hands between every point as they gave each other words of encouragement and world No. 2 Serena stopping at one point to adjust the tangled strap of Venus' dress.
"I know that she's there for me," Venus said when asked if she leans on her sister for mental support. "Even if we're 10,000 miles apart, I know she's still there. There's never a moment when I don't."
Cheered on by dad Richard, who will fly home ahead of Saturday's final because he finds it too painful to watch his daughters play each other, the sisters celebrated their victory with a high-five and ear-to-ear smiles.
But, despite their united front, the pair will share their dad's relief when Saturday evening comes and the battle is over.
Asked if there was anything they would like to ask each other at this point in the tournament Serena looked at her sister and said, "Are you ready to get out of here?" To which Venus smiled and respondedm "Ditto."