Serena Williams rallied to defeat sister Venus Williams 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in a second-round matchup of Grand Slam champions at the WTA Top Seed Open.
Top-seeded Serena Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam winner, said the victory will boost her confidence heading into the US Open as she improved to 19-12 in the 22-year-old rivalry with Venus.
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“I wanted to win this for my game and my confidence,” said Serena Williams, whose only title as a mother came in January at Auckland.
“I honestly didn’t come here to win (a title) for the first time in my career. I just came here to get some matches. I haven’t had this much time off since I had the baby.”
Ninth-ranked Serena has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, one shy of matching Margaret Court’s all-time record, and she is preparing to chase a seventh career US Open singles crown at Flushing Meadows.
Serena smacked a cross-court forehand winner to break Venus for a 2-1 lead in the third set, then dropped the next four games, only to break again in the seventh on another forehand cross-court winner, then hold to 4-4.
Serena zipped a backhand cross-court winner past Venus Williams to break for a 5-4 lead and served out the match, aided by an umpire over-rule ace to reach 30-30.
Serena followed the call with her 14th ace and won after two hours and 19 minutes when Venus sent a forehand beyond the baseline.
“The last couple games I just wanted to win because I’ve been losing a lot of those tight sets,” Serena said.
“I just tried to focus on those last two games.”
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Serena had six double faults and hit 67 per cent of her first serves while winning 46 per cent of second-serve points and taking 5-of-15 break points in her first event since February’s Fed Cup.
Venus, ranked 67th, had six aces with 11 double faults. The seven-time Grand Slam champion ousted Victoria Azarenka in the first round.
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