There was tremendous anticipation ahead of the Williams sisters’ quarterfinal encounter at the US Open tournament at the Flushing Meadows on September 8, 2015. Although Venus has faded away in recent years, the siblings’ rivalry still attracted huge viewership. The Tuesday-night’s battle was the 27th between the two and Venus matched little sister Serena, who is on the verge of making tennis history. It has been 27 years since Steffi Graf won the 1988 calendar Grand Slam and now Serena is just two matches away from repeating Graf’s feat. Serena lost a set but won the match. Top seed Novak Djokovic was given a harrowing time by Spain’s Feliciano Lopez before scraping through in 4 sets after more than 2½ hours. Women’s doubles top seeds Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis advanced to the semi-finals with victory over no.9 seeds Taiwanese Hao-Ching Chan and Yung-Jan Chan. Leander Paes/Martina Hingis entered the mixed doubles semifinals. Interestingly, to make it to the final, Paes/Hingis will take on the pair, which has another Indian Rohan Bopanna, playing with Taiwan’s Yung-Jan Chan. This guarantees the entry of at least one Indian in the mixed doubles final at this year’s US Open.
The Arthur Ashe Stadium was jam-packed to watch a classic between tennis’ most celebrated siblings. US Presidential candidate Donald Trump and TV show-queen Oprah Winfrey were among those present. Serena began strongly and nearly broke Venus in the opening game. Thereafter, both players followed with impressive shot-making to a great delight of the spectators. Serena first broke Venus in the fifth game and again in the seventh to win the first set 6-2 in 33 minutes. Not to be outdone, Venus took control of the second set and didn’t allow Serena much room to win at 6-1. In the third set, Serena took an early lead and ended the 98-minute show with a 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 victory. Serena fired 35 winners to Venus’ 24 and sent down 12 aces as against 8 by Venus.
Novak Djokovic ran into a tough opponent in his quarterfinal match. Spain’s Feliciano Lopez was not prepared to yield an inch against the world no.1 despite losing the first set 1-6. The Spaniard bounced back to take the second set 6-3 and played a matching game thereafter. The Serbian had to dig deep in his reserves and really sweated to keep the Spaniard at bay. Lopez nearly forced the decider but lost the fourth set tiebreak as Djokovic won 6-1, 3-6. 6-3,7-6 in 2 hours 39 minutes.
Indians are largely having a good time in this year’s US Open. Playing with Switzerland’s Martina Hingis, both Sania Mirza and Leander Paes have moved into the semifinals of women and mixed doubles. With Rohan Bopanna also making it to the mixed doubles semifinal with Taiwan’s Yung-Jan Chan and being pitted against Paes/Hingis next, this year’s US open mixed doubles final will have an Indian. While the no.4 seeds Paes/Hingis had a walkover from Romania’s Simona Halep/Horia Tecau; Bopanna/Yung-Jan Chan fought hard against Taiwanese/Finnish pair of Su-Wei Hsieh/Henri Kontinen before winning at 7-6, 5-7, 13-11. In the meanwhile, Bopanna also continued his winning run in the men’s doubles draw and booked a place in the quarterfinal with his Romanian partner Florin Mergea with a creditable 6-7, 6-4, 6-3 victory over Daniel Nestor (Canada)/Edouard Roger-Vasselin (France).
Wimbledon champions Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis reached the semifinals of the women’s doubles with a 7-6, 6-1 victory over Taiwan’s Hao-Ching Chan and Yung-Jan Chan. For a place in the final, the top seeded Indo-Swiss pair will have to defeat the Italian duo of Sara Errani and Flavia Pennetta.
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