Serena Williams has crushed older sister Venus 6-1 6-2 in a shockingly subdued third-round clash at the US Open to stay on track for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title.
The meeting between the famed tennis siblings had been hyped as the biggest night of the US Open, but turned into a flat, uninspired spectacle, as Serena simply outclassed her sister.
The only moment of suspense in a contest all but devoid of drama came in the second game, when Serena rolled over on her ankle, drawing gasps from the sellout crowd.
She was able to continue, but at the first changeover, called a medical timeout and had her ankle heavily strapped.
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In the end, the only pain being felt was by Venus, who suffered the equal-worst defeat in 30 matches against her sister, who’s beaten her 18 times.
“I roll my ankles a lot, so I just wanted to get it taped as tight as I could for the rest of the match and see how I feel tomorrow,” Serena said.
“This was my best match since my return. I’ve worked really hard for it… and hopefully everything will keep paying off.”
Seven times a Grand Slam winner, Venus held her opening serve, but it was all downhill from there, as a ruthless Serena swept through the next seven games to take the opening set in a breezy 31 minutes and a 2-0 lead in the second.
Venus would stop the skid, holding her serve at 2-1, before Serena resumed the mugging by building a 5-1 lead, before finishing off her sister with a thumping forehand winner.
The win was met with polite applause and a hug at the net. Otherwise, there was no evident joy in the outcome.
“It’s not easy,” Serena said. “She’s my best friend, she means the world to me and she’s so supportive of my career.”
The sellout crowd that surrounded Arthur Ashe Stadium was kept waiting to enter, as world number one Rafa Nadal and Russian Karen Khachanov battled inside, in a breathtaking clash that set the bar high for the main event.