The greatest ever

venus: serena the best female player of all time

Venus Williams believes sister Serena is the best female player of all time with or without the calendar Grand Slam.

Serena beat Venus 6-2 1-6 6-3 to reach the US Open semi-finals last night and now stands two victories away from becoming the first player to hold all four major titles in a year since Steffi Graf in 1988.

It was the 27th all-Williams clash but, despite a mid-match lull where Venus staged a fightback, Serena proved why she has been the dominant force in recent years with a ruthless display.

The world No 1 managed 12 aces, 35 winners and three breaks of serve under the lights of Arthur Ashe Stadium and on this form she is an overwhelming favourite to write her name into the history books after Saturday’s final.

“I think that would be huge, not just for me, but for my family, just for what it represents and how hard we have worked and where we come from,” Venus said.

“So it would be a moment for our family. But at the same time, if it doesn’t happen it’s not going to make or break you.

“We don’t have anything to prove. She has nothing to prove. She’s really the best ever, so what are you going to do, just try to make it. If you don’t, then that’s that and go to the next one.”

Serena would be only the fourth female player to achieve the calendar Grand Slam and success at Flushing Meadows would also see her tie with Graf’s Open era record of 22 major titles.

“Serena is the best ever because of the level of competition that she’s faced,” Venus said.

“There have been some unbelievable players in the past, but I have played in what seems like multiple eras at this point. I have played the best from different eras, as well.

“I have seen the level of competitiveness go up, and I have seen players who are ranked 100, who didn’t believe they could win a match against you, fight you tooth and nail and try to take you down.

“That didn’t happen when I started so just to be able to win at this level, I think that’s what makes her the best.”

The sisters shared a warm embrace at the net after an hour and 38 minutes of action and Venus, who whispered ‘So happy for you’ in her sibling’s ear, insists there was some consolation in defeat.

“Losing isn’t fun,” she said. “But probably the most gratifying thing is I’m still very excited to see Serena have an opportunity to win the four majors. I think that’s the best part.”

Williams now faces unseeded Italian Roberta Vinci, who ousted Kristina Mladenovic 6-3 5-7 6-4 to reach her first major semi-final at the age of 32.

The pair have met on four previous occasions and Vinci is yet to take a set off the American.

Today Italy’s 26th seed Flavia Pennetta came from a set down to beat two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and reach her second US Open semi-final.

Pennetta, 33, capitalised on an erratic Kvitova performance to win 4-6 6-4 6-2.

Czech fifth seed Kvitova, who had ended Briton Jo Konta’s run at the tournament, made 60 unforced errors.

Meanwhile, top seed Novak Djokovic will play defending champion Marin Cilic in the semi-finals tomorrow.

Djokovic, 28, beat Spanish 18th seed Feliciano Lopez 6-1 3-6 6-3 7-6 (7-2) in a sweltering New York session last night.

Croatia’s Cilic withstood a Jo-Wilfried Tsonga fightback to win 6-4 6-4 3-6 6-7 (3-7) 6-4.

Source: (Sky)

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