Williams sisters to battle in semis

Associated Press  |  Last updated April 05, 2013
Top-ranked Serena Williams ended a long and successful day for the Williams family as she and sister Venus both won twice Friday to reach the Family Circle Cup semifinals and set up their first sibling showdown since 2009. Serena won her 13th straight match by defeating sixth-seeded Lucie Safarova, 6-4, 6-1. Earlier, she topped two-time NCAA doubles champ Mallory Burdette in a third-round match moved due to Thursday's 7 1/2-hour rain delay. Venus also had double duty, rallying past Varvara Lepchenko in three sets before ousting 18-year-old Madison Keys later on Billie Jean King Court. The Williams sisters next go for a spot in the finals Saturday. They haven't met in a tournament since the 2009 Tour Championships in Qatar. Serena holds a 13-10 lead, although they're 1-1 on clay. ''For the record, we've never played two matches on the same day,'' Serena told the stadium crowd. ''You guys had a real treat.'' They surely did. The sisters were the first four matches on the stadium court - and they only dropped one set combined. ''I was thinking it was a quadruple-header,'' Venus said with a laugh. ''I don't know if that's ever going to happen again.'' The excitement continues Saturday when the sisters go against each for a 24th time in their stellar careers at a venue where both have enjoyed championship moments. Serena is seeking her third Family Circle title after wins in her last two appearances here in 2008 and 2012. Venus took this title in 2004 and scored the clinching points last September when the Washington Kastles took the World Team Tennis crown at Family Circle Tennis Center. Serena, 31, comes in as world No. 1 having won Wimbledon, the Olympics and the U.S. Open since capturing last year's Family Circle. She added to her haul with a sixth Sony Open crown, rallying past Maria Sharapova for her 48th career WTA crown. Venus has struggled with illness and injury in recent years. She took some six months off after being diagnosed with Sjrogen's Syndrome, an autoimmune disease, and withdrew from the Sony last month because of a sore back. Still, Serena is wary of her sister's game and desire to win. ''When I play Venus, it's never an easy opponent,'' she said. ''She's my toughest opponent I've ever played, and I think she's beaten me the most of any player.'' Venus, who'll turn 33 in June, has lost four straight to Serena since a victory in Dubai in 2009. The older Williams hasn't won a major since Wimbledon in 2008. ''The last years have been challenging and at some points difficult,'' Venus said. ''But I think in both of our heads, we never gave up on tennis or ourselves.'' There's another side of the bracket, too. Jelena Jankovic won her 500th career match with a straight sets win over Eugenie Bouchard. Jankovic will face either No. 2 seed Caroline Wozniacki or Stephanie Voegele in the semifinals. ''In order to have 500 wins, I think you have to have a pretty long career, be pretty consistent,'' the 28-year-old Jankovic said. The sisters were put in the unusual spot of doubling up when the rain postponed much of Thursday's schedule. Venus Williams looked her most comfortable of the week against the power-hitting Keys. Williams had needed a third set to pull out both her previous matches and it looked as though it might happen again when Keys was a point away from moving in front 4-1 in the second set. But Williams was able to rally to win five of the final six games, securing her second semifinal berth in four tournaments this year. Venus Williams seemed to have her first match under control, ahead 6-2 and 3-0 in the second set. Lapchenko rallied to win seven of the next eight games while a chilly drizzle fell in the middle of the second set and took a 1-0 lead in the decisive set. That's when Williams again found her game and pulled away by winning six of the final seven games. Venus Williams returned to clay-court action at the 2012 Family Circle after an absence of about two years on the surface. A bout with the autoimmune disease Sjogren's Syndrome kept her from the game for almost six months between the 2011 U.S. Open and the 2012 Sony Open. She reached the quarterfinals here a year ago, falling to Samantha Stosur to prevent an all-Williams semi that time. Safarova, who lost to Serena Williams, 6-0, 6-1 in the 2012 finals, led in the opening set and had a point to go up 5-2. Instead, Williams rallied back from deuce and won the final four games to take the set. Williams' big serves and power game smothered Safarova after that. Williams served a 106 mph ace to set up match point, then chased down Safarova's drop shot to take the match - and give herself a well-earned rest.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Rams owner buys massive 520,000-acre Texas ranch

Cam Newton explains why he did not dive on fumble

George Karl’s agent rips Kings, wants broadcaster reprimanded

WATCH: Popovich has funny reaction to New Hampshire results

Suns vets pull packing peanut prank on rookie Devin Booker

Teammate gives Manning final completion ball from Super Bowl

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Ole Miss Football cited in 13 of 28 department violations by NCAA

Larry Sanders to consider NBA comeback after other interests stabilize

The NCAAB power rankings

SEC begins crying foul over Jim Harbaugh’s spring break plans at Michigan

Marc Gasol reportedly out indefinitely with broken foot

Patriots waive Montee Ball despite never officially re-signing running back

WATCH: Blackhawks coach walks out of press conference

Greg McElroy: Cam Newton 'quit on his team'

Tennis umpires secretly banned over gambling issues

WATCH: Dancing Kentucky fan slides down rail, fails

Clemson LB has great response to NFL draft analyst's criticism

Former Aggies QB Kyle Allen reveals culture problems at Texas A&M

Roy Williams collapses during game vs. BC

Panthers TE Greg Olsen shaves off his playoff beard

Derek Fisher thanks Knicks in statement

Miami Heat to honor Shaq by retiring his number 32

Oakland Raiders release Nate Allen

B.J. Penn announces he will return at UFC 197

Bring back the Dunk Contest

Tennis News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The NCAAB power rankings

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker