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"Two-headed monster" rules Grand Slam circuit

Wednesday, September 8, 2004
Venus defeats Serena in 2001 U.S. Open final
By Mike Puma
Special to

Signature Match

Sept. 8, 2001 - Venus Williams hoisted her second straight U.S. Open championship trophy after beating Serena 6-2, 6-4 in the first Grand Slam final between sisters in 117 years. The match, which lasted only 69 minutes, was the 10th between sisters in a Grand Slam match during the Open era, with the older sister winning every time.

"If I was the younger sister, maybe I'd feel more joyful," Venus said. "I don't exactly feel like I've won. If I was playing a different opponent, I'd probably be a lot more joyful, but I'm happy to have won the U.S. Open again."

Venus had 19 unforced errors and Serena 36 in a match with seven service breaks. In the fourth game, Venus smashed a 109-mph serve that knocked the racket from Serena's hand. The victory was Venus' fifth in six meetings against her sister. "I'm disappointed, but only a little, because Venus won," Serena said.

Odds 'n' Ends

  • Before the Williams sisters met at the 2001 U.S. Open, the last final between sisters in a Grand Slam event took place at Wimbledon in 1884, with Maud Watson defeating Lillian Watson, 6-8, 6-3, 6-3.

  • Venus and Serena are Jehovah's Witnesses.

  • Venus hit balls with John McEnroe and Pete Sampras in 1988 and later told her father Richard she believed she could have beaten McEnroe.

  • Venus showed promise running track, winning 19 straight meets before she turned 10. She ran the mile in 5 minutes, 29 seconds in 1988.

  • When Venus was 10 she wanted to be an astronaut.

  • Promotor Don King tried unsuccessfully to convince the sisters to sign with his company in 1991.

  • When the sisters left California for Florida in 1991, Venus was ranked No. 1 in the Southern California girls 12-and-under division and Serena was ranked No. 1 in the 10-and-under division of the state's junior tennis circuit.

  • In April 1992, the sisters faced each other in an exhibition doubles match in Hilton Head, S.C. Serena teamed with Billie Jean King to defeat Venus and Rosie Casals, 6-2.

  • Venus and Serena both graduated from The Driftwood Academy with a GPA higher than 3.0.

  • Venus speaks Russian and enjoys reading Russian history.

  • Early in her pro career, Venus wore 1,800 "pearls" in her hair for tournaments.

  • By beating 10th-ranked Irina Spirlea in only her 16th career WTA Tour main-draw singles match, Serena defeated five Top 10 players faster than anyone in the history of women's professional tennis, breaking the record set by Monica Seles, who did it in her 33rd main-draw match.

  • Venus' serve was clocked at 127 mph in 1998, a women's world record.

  • Venus' first singles title came in 1998, when she beat South Africa's Joannette Kruger 6-3, 6-2 in the finals of the IGA Tennis Classic.

  • The sisters released their first issue of "The Tennis Monthly Recap," a newsletter they wrote, edited and designed in December 1998.

  • The sisters made an agreement in 1999 to avoid playing the same tournaments, except majors.

  • In 1999, Venus was a finalist at Hannover, Germany, where she had a three-set semifinal win over Steffi Graf that included 12 aces by Williams, including one on match point. It was her first victory over Graf.

  • Later that year, Serena won the U.S. Open doubles title with her sister and the singles title, becoming the fifth woman in the Open Era to win both championships in the same year.

  • The sisters taped 10 episodes of "Hollywood Squares" in 1999.

  • In August 2000, doll likenesses of the sisters were produced.

  • President Bill Clinton phoned Venus after her victory in the 2000 U.S. Open, at which time she lobbied the President to lower her taxes.

  • In 2000, Venus became only the second player to win Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and the Olympic gold medal in the same year. Graf did it in 1988.

  • Venus owns gold medals in singles and doubles (with Serena) from the 2000 Olympics.

  • Venus was named Sports Illustrated's "Sportswoman of the Year" for 2000.

  • Venus and Serena were the only players to defeat both Jennifer Capriati and Lindsay Davenport in 2001.

  • Venus finished 1999, 2000 and 2001 ranked No. 3.

  • Serena rose from No. 20 to No. 4 in 1999 before falling back to No. 6 in 2000 and 2001.

  • Venus and Serena won their second Wimbledon doubles championship in 2001, giving them five Grand Slams titles as a team.

  • A German man accused of stalking Serena in at least five countries was released from custody July 4, 2002 following his arrest outside the gates to Wimbledon. Albrecht Stromeyer, 34, was charged with breaching the peace and criminal damage after an altercation with police. He told police he "loved" Williams "but will never hurt her."

  • The sisters' parents, Richard and Oracene, were divorced in October 2002.

  • In 2004, neither Williams sister won a Grand Slam title, the first time that happened since 1998.

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