World number one Serena Williams stayed on course for the first calendar Grand Slam since 1988, advancing to the US Open semi-finals Tuesday by defeating older sister Venus Williams 6-2, 1-6, 6-3.
Three-time defending champion Serena reached a Thursday semi-final against Italy’s 43rd-ranked Roberta Vinci, who eliminated France’s 40th-ranked Kristina Mladenovic 6-3, 5-7, 6-4.
Serena, who holds all four major trophies, moved two wins from completing the first calendar Grand Slam since Steffi Graf 27 years ago and matching Graf’s career Open Era record of 22 singles titles, two shy of Australian Margaret Court’s all-time mark.
Venus, 35, was playing in the fourth round at Flushing Meadows for the first time since 2010, but threatened to derail her sister’s grand ambitions.
The 23rd seed battled back to force a final set, only to see younger sister Serena capitalise on an early service break and claim her 33rd straight win at the Slams.
The Williams sisters had played each other 26 times on the professional circuit, but their 27th contest was as highly anticipated as any.
Serena might already hold all four Slam titles, but her bid to win them all in the same year has elevated tennis in the US sporting headlines.
The early excitement was tempered by Serena’s excellent start, but Venus gave a reminder of why she is a seven-time major champion by taking it to a final set.
“She’s the toughest player I’ve ever played in my life and the best person,”
“It’s going against your best friend and the greatest competitor, for me, in women’s tennis, so it was really difficult for me today.”said Serena.
Venus said: “Losing isn’t fun, but probably the most gratifying part is I’m still very excited to see Serena have an opportunity to win the four majors.”
With Kelly Rowland, Kim Kardashian,Oprah, tennis legend John McEnroe, and Donald Trump in the house, the Williams sisters produced a contest that was so much more memorable – and highly charged – than their recent Wimbledon clash. Venus hit the ball with ferocity for much of the match and thoroughly deserved to have a share of the first two sets. But it was remarkable – with everything at stake – how Serena managed to hit so many winners as she took control of the decider.