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Williams’ sisters set for 26th meeting

By: Allan Blanks

Williams sisters

Sibling rivalries at it’s best – for the 26th time, Venus and Serena Williams will allow their racquets decide who the greater sister is.

Bolstering unmatchable power, electrifying speed, and a passion for winning; this description could define either player. Since 2000, the Williams sisters have been the only American’s to hold the Venus Rosewater Dish, and this round of 16 contest will award one sister the right to fight for the coveted trophy.

Each time the Williams sisters set foot on the legendary lawns of Wimbledon, they prove that the American dream is alive. In an age of skepticism and socio-political turmoil, the Compton, California native’s continue to represent the belief that hard work can overcome barriers. If there is a will, both Venus and Serena Williams will find a way to win. Every point earned is the result of unrelenting effort, courageous execution, and absolute confidence.

Fueled by their father’s passion for tennis, and steadied by their mother’s unwavering support, two sisters forged a bond and aspired to become champions. Twenty one years later, the Williams sisters hold 16 Wimbledon titles, and have stated their case as the most dominating players to grace Centre Court.

Their blistering power, feverish speed, and all-court athleticism is an exquisite complement to the emerald grass and porcelain white lines. Between the two sisters, they’ve acquired the Venus Rosewater Dish 10 times, hoisted the Duchess of Kent Challenge Cup five times, and earned the Silver Challenge Cup once. From 2000-2005, the Williams’ made six consecutive finals appearances, followed by four straight showings between 2007-2010.

At 6’1, Venus Williams towers over opponents, and uses her incredible wingspan to patrol the net. Armed with exceptional speed and court coverage, Williams is an aggressive defender who pounces on every shot. Powerful from both sides, Williams will gladly spar with opponents. To defeat her younger sister, Williams needs to nail her first serves, and attack early and often from the baseline. Serena Williams is a relentless returner, who relishes the chance to destroy second serves. Secondly, Serena Williams will mercilessly bully any opponent who fails to fight from the baseline. It’s critical for Venus Williams to string together deep penetrating shots, and attack any vulnerability her younger sister provides.

Although Serena Williams is the youngest, she leads their series 14-11, and will do everything she can to sustain her dominance. Equipped with ferocious ground-strokes, and arguably the greatest serve in women’s tennis; Williams is an offensive juggernaut with intentions to crush the competition. As an all-court tactician, Williams creates hostility with her forehand, and fear with her backhand. Opponents who fails to generate depth during rallies, will suffer trauma by way of approach shots. The Williams approach can be sharp and shallow, or devastatingly deep. By the time an opponent delivers a reply, Williams has closed the net and will abruptly end the point with a pin-point volley or a signature slam.

If Williams is to surmount her older sister, patience and persistence will be the keys. The reach and defensive prowess of Venus Williams will extend rallies. Plus, Venus Williams is one of the few women capable of matching Serena Williams’ strength. Serena Williams needs to maintain her aggression, and patiently calculate her moment to unleash winners. Persistence will pay, if Serena Williams consistently keep her big sister off-balanced. Sparring to the center of the baseline can be costly, and will grant the older sister a chance to dictate points. Serena Williams needs to keep the taller sister on the move, and out of the point.

Strategy aside, the one element that nobody can predict is emotions. It’s no secret that the Williams sisters love the game, but love each other more. At the conclusion of their matches, tears are commonplace and exhaustion is nearby. This 25th meeting will present new pressures, and possibly greater stakes. Wimbledon provides Venus Williams her best chance to win a major, while Serena Williams is looking to move one step closer to tennis immortality. Winning is paramount for both, and losing is not something either sister wishes to experience.

The round of 16 is not another meeting between the Williams sisters. It’s a clash of wills, and a fight to keep championship dreams alive.

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Allan Blanks

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