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Serena upends Venus at Family Circle Cup

April 6, 2013 07:11 PM

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP)  -- Serena Williams had completed a dazzling display of tennis to dominate her opponent and advance to her fourth final of the year at the Family Circle Cup on Saturday.

Her excitement, though, was over the weeklong play of sister Venus despite big sister's inability to slow down Serena.

"She's had a great week,'' Serena said

So has Serena, who won her 14th straight match here with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Venus -- the most one-sided result in the sisters' long, intense rivalry.

Serena got started early with her powerhouse serves and rarely let Venus gain any ground.

Still, Serena understands better than almost anyone what her older sister has gone through in recent years due to injury and illness.

"I think [the week] is positive looking for her and she can see the next, her next tournament be really more positive,'' Serena said.

Serena goes for her second straight tournament title and third here overall Sunday when she takes on Jelena Jankovic, a three-set winner over Stefanie Voegele.

It was the first time since 2009 the Williams sisters were playing each other in a tournament, and the excitement was felt throughout the Family Circle Tennis Center. A crowd of 9,538 filled Billie Jean King Court, a single-session record since the tournament moved from Hilton Head to Charleston in 2001.

Serena has won five straight in their series and leads, 14-10, since they first faced each other at the Australian Open in 1998. Back then, Venus was the more polished player and began a run of five victories over Serena the first six times they played.

Things turned in 2002 with Serena's 6-2, 6-2 win in Miami, the previous biggest sibling margin before this one.

Since, Serena holds a 13-5 mark and has played some of her best tennis the past year. Since capturing this title in April 2012, Serena has won Wimbledon, Olympic gold, the US Open and reclaimed the world's No. 1 ranking.

"Obviously, Serena is playing extremely well,'' Venus says, "and it's great to see her at No. 1 and just fulfilling every dream.''

Venus' career hasn't gone as well. The 32-year-old seven-time major champion was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease, Sjogren's syndrome in 2011 and took six months off from the game.

The condition saps her strength, meaning she must manage her game more than ever. She and Serena both had to win twice Friday because of rain postponements earlier in the week, something Serena says surely affected her sister's condition.

"She'll never admit it, ever, but I don't think she was 100 percent,'' Serena said. "But you will never get that out of her, and quite frankly, three matches for her is much tougher than three matches for me.''

That showed on Saturday.

Serena surged to a 4-0 lead over her big sister and won the first set in 22 minutes. Venus, who withdrew from her previous event because of back problems, picked up her game a bit in the second set but it was hardly enough.

The match ended when Venus mishit Serena's final serve, and the sisters simply shook hands at the net when it was over, neither looking overly pleased. Serena waited until her sister left the court before to cheers talking with an on-court interviewer and giving the crowd a few comments.

Venus said dealing with this defeat won't be different than any other in her long career. She said she had her chances to succeed and couldn't do it, simple as that.

"We both had racquets and everything. I didn't take advantage of my opportunities, so there's no reason for me to be upset'' at Serena, Venus said. "I just have to improve my game.''




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