Serena Williams came back and won the last four games to beat her older sister, Venus, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in a hard-hitting, back-and-forth, second-round matchup at the Top Seed Open on Thursday. It was the 31st meeting of their careers — 22½ years after the first.
After their meeting at the first official tennis tournament in the United States since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the siblings simply tapped rackets. No handshake or hug.
There were other signs of the times: The “Black Lives Matter” stencil on the wall behind the baseline. The face-covering each Williams wore on walks to and from the court — Serena’s a leopard print, Venus’ a light blue medical mask. The subdued greeting that met their arrivals instead of a crowd’s roar — zero fanfare owing to zero fans allowed in.
Some folks could be seen laying on the ground to peek through the opening at the bottom of the fence at the back of the court.
“Last couple of games, I just wanted to win because I have been losing a lot of those tight sets,” Serena, who had been down 4-2 in the final set, said in a post-match interview.
“So I said ‘I really need to try to win this’… just for my game and my confidence, so I just tried to focus on those last two games,” added the former top-ranked American, who extended her lead over her older sister to 19-12 in career meetings on a hot and humid day.