By Nicholas J. Walz
Venus Williams dislikes any match where she’s pitted against her sister, Serena, but the seven-time Grand Slam champion accepted victory with a pump of the fist at the end of a hard-fought, 6-7, 6-2, 6-3 victory, moving on to the Rogers Cup
Venus will meet third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska, who defeated Ekaterina Makarova, 7-6, 7-6, in the second half of a semifinal Saturday doubleheader in Montreal.
“I’m a mellow kind of person, but I’m competitive,” said Venus, addressing the crowd after win. “You have to be on this tour. This has been an unbelievable opportunity for me to play a lot of matches, and I think it’s paying off for me.”
The elder Williams, 34, was the sharper of the two siblings for most of the afternoon, capturing the early break in each of the three sets and delivering well-placed forehand winners, 23 in all. On the other side, Serena’s first serve was on point – 19 aces total – but the world No. 1 registered nine double faults to Venus’ two for the match. Serena also committed 32 unforced errors, a dozen more than her sister.
The match was the 25th career meeting between the two sisters, and first since last year’s Family Circle Cup in Charleston, S.C. The last time Venus had won against her younger sibling was back in 2009 in Dubai.
“We haven’t played the often in the last five years – that’s kind of been my fault,” said Venus. “I tell you, it seems like the better [competiton] I’ve played, they helped me raise my game. I think Serena helped me to raise my game. Knowing that she’s there on the opposite side of the next, you have no choice but to be better.”
Serena is a three-time Rogers Cup champion but has yet to win the tournament when it’s been played at Uniprix Stadium in Montreal. Venus, meanwhile, had never won a single match in Canada before the start of the week. Unseeded coming into the tournament, she has knocked off world No. 7 Angelique Kerber, No. 16 Carla Suarez-Navarro and now No. 1 Serena on consecutive days to reach her third final in 2014.
The strong performance will propel Venus into to the Top 20 for the first time in nearly 18 months. Both Williams sisters are scheduled to play at next week’s Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, the last tune-up for both before heading to New York for the US Open. Serena won the first leg of the Emirates Airline US Open Series summer schedule, claiming the Bank of the West Classic title a week ago in Stanford, Calif. Venus will attempt to make it two-for-two for the family against Radwanska.
The Rogers Cup final will be played tomorrow afternoon, with television coverage on ESPN2 beginning at 1:00 p.m. ET. Fans can also watch all the action streaming live on ESPN3.