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Age Matters in Williams Family

Tennis: Venus still has Serena's number in straight-set victory. Hingis sweeps past Kournikova.

May 09, 1998| From Associated Press

ROME — Big sister still holds the Williams' family title.

In their second meeting on the Women's Tennis Assn. tour, Venus Williams again defeated sister Serena, 6-4, 6-2, Friday in the quarterfinals of the Italian Open.

It kept Venus on track for a possible meeting in the final with top-seeded Martina Hingis, who had little trouble with 14th-seeded Anna Kournikova of Russia, 6-2, 6-4, on Foro Italico's red clay.

The outcome of the Williams' family showdown never seemed in doubt.

"The first time was different," said Serena, explaining the lack of emotion from the sisters, who first played each other in the Australian Open in January.

Venus, who at 17 is a year older than Serena, showed more poise and consistency, but neither was particularly brilliant.

"For sure, I think we both had a bad day," Venus said. "I think in the future we'll both have better days against each other."

Serena did not look as confident as she had a day earlier, when she eliminated four-time Italian Open champion Conchita Martinez.

In one of the few key points of the match, Serena blew an easy volley en route to her service being broken in the sixth game of the second set and seemed to lose her fight.

"I was a little disappointed," Serena said. "I went out there really wanting to win this time. But there will be another time."

Laughing, Venus added: "I think Serena knows what she needs to do to beat me, but I'd have to make a lot of mistakes. I was more consistent [Friday] at the important times."

Venus will face No. 5 Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in the semifinals today. The two-time former French Open champion rallied to defeat No. 15 Lisa Raymond, 6-7 (8-6), 6-1, 6-2.

The attention of the crowd Friday, however, was focused on Hingis and Kournikova. The fans tried to get the Russian into the match, but Hingis kept up her perfect record against Kournikova, taking advantage of her early uneven play, when she sprayed balls wildly and had trouble getting lift on her forehand.

"She's pretty much known for being a slow starter," Hingis said. "I was kind of afraid because she's also known for turning matches around."

Kournikova brought the crowd to its feet when she saved five match points in the last two games, but then succumbed to Hingis for the fourth time in as many matches.

The victory lifted Hingis' match record this year to 28-3, keeping her ahead of Venus Williams, who is 26-3. Two of Hingis' losses were to the elder Williams.

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