Venus & Serena Williams
As the dawn of a new era in women's tennis is taking hold, two US women will not go down without a fight.
Serena and Venus Williams have left an indelible mark on the tennis world. With 22 Grand Slam titles between them, five at the US Open, one is left to wonder if they can do it again this year?
They have been trading shots for more than two decades, going back to their earliest public-court battles in Compton, Calif.
Today, they find themselves in the backstretch of their careers. It's impossible to know how many major titles are left. It's safe to say that at 31 and 29, respectively, Venus and Serena Williams feel a sense of urgency.
They consistently remain the best and biggest hitters in the women's game. After a year plagued with injuries, the sisters are ready to let the tennis world know they are back and ready to reclaim their glory.
In honor of their contribution to US women's tennis, let's take a look back at some of the Williams' sisters best US Open moments.
Serena beats Venus in quarterfinal
The 2008 quarterfinal match between 7th seeded Venus and 4th seeded Serena played like a championship match, lasting almost 2-and-a-half hours with Serena beating Venus 7-6, 7-6.
Serena trailed 5–3 in both sets and saved two set points in the first set and eight set points in the second set. To assist her forehand shots, Serena was able to shorten the volley on critical points.
Venus didn't convert any of the 10 set points she had, although she did win 25 of 32 net points, with Serena winning 16 of 23.
Prior to this year Serena's focus was a bit lost in the tennis world, and she had not been in top form. She worked hard to get in shape in hopes of returning to world No. 1.
Serena's ability to convert crucial points, rush the net and stay emotionally focused was ultimately the difference in the match.
In her opening round at the 2007 US Open, Venus recorded the fastest women's serve at 129 mph, setting a Grand Slam record.
The women's game had not been about power before the Williams sisters arrived on the tour. Venus has always set the pace here with her powerful, fierce forehands. Here she raised the bar even further by setting a record that few men players can even match.
Venus' first serve speed and win percentage propelled her to her first Grand Slam semifinal outside of Wimbledon since 2003. Though she would lose to eventual champion Justine Henin, Venus put herself in the record books.
Venus and Serena
One of my favorite stories of Venus and Serena is at the 1999 US Open. They beat the favorites, fellow American Chanda Rubin and France's Sandrine Testud, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.
Venus and Serena had won their first doubles title that year at the French Open. By winning their first US Open doubles title, Venus and Serena put the tennis world on notice. They had arrived, and they were changing the game of tennis as we knew it.
Very few players win a Grand Slam let alone a singles and doubles title in one event. 17-year-old Serena soon found herself in an elite group of women, including Margaret Court, Billie Jean King, and Martina Navratilova.
This win catapulted them to celebrity status. The Williams sisters would go on to win 10 more doubles Grand Slam titles. Hopefully we will see another title at this year's open.
In 1997, three years after Venus turned pro, she entered the US Open for the first time. Not only did she win, Venus made it all the way to the finals. In doing so, Venus became the first woman since Pam Shriver in 1978 to reach the singles final of the US Open on her first attempt.
That would not be the only record Venus set that year. Venus became the first unseeded singles finalist at the US Open to make it to the finals, a feat many have tried to achieve since.
Venus, along with Martina Hingis, set a third record that year. The ages of Williams, 17, and Hingis, 16, combined were the lowest ever in the open era history of that tournament.
Although Venus would lose to Hingis, she knew this was just the beginning of her many records and achievements that players will be chasing for years to come.
Serena wins 1st Grand Slam title
At the young age of 17, Serena Williams won her first Grand Slam title in 1999. Serena beat Martina Hingis 6-3, 7-6 in only her sophomore year on tour. This win would go down in the record books as one of the Greatest Moments in Sports.
This win catapulted Serena into the record books as the first African-American woman since Althea Gibson in 1958 to win a Grand Slam.
Beating Hingis was a sweet victory as Hingis had beaten Venus in the 1997 US Open final.
This victory was hard fought. Serena beat three of the top women's players in the world to advance to the finals. One of these matches alone would have sunk a lesser player.
She defeated No. 4 Monica Seles, No. 2 Lindsay Davenport as well as world No.1 Martina Hingis.
The only thing more satisfying than the win itself, was having Venus, her mother and father cheering her on from the stands. It was the first of many crowning glories for the Williams' family.