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The Tennis Beat: Williams Sisters are set for U.S. Open
By Fred Williams
Sentinel Contributing Writer
Serena and Venus Williams are seeded No. 1 and 3 at the U.S. Open Championship, which started last Monday. The winner of the singles division will earn $1.6 million. The sisters are on the same side of the draw and are scheduled to potentially meet in the semi-finals.
Serena is the defending champion. She has won two grand slams this year (Australian Open and Wimbledon). So far this year, she earned over $3 million and today is top money earner of all women's sports. This month's issue of "Inside Tennis" has her on the cover and a four-page interview with her.
Between them, the sisters have won over 12 Grand Slam Tournaments. They are the only siblings to do so in modern times. The sisters have been setting records since their junior playing days.
In 1991, Venus won the girls' 12-year-old singles and Serena won the girls' 10-year-old singles of the prestigious Southern California Junior Championship. In that same year, Venus was ranked No. 1 in the 12 year old division and Serena No. 1 in the 10 year old division.
In 1992, they played each other at the Forum. Soon after, they stopped playing junior tournaments and moved to Florida. In her pro debut in 1994, Venus almost beat the No. 1 player in the world. Venus won the first set 6-0 and was up 3-0 in the second before running out of gas.Â The following week she played to a capacity crowd at the Manhattan Beach Country Club, losing to Steffi Graf 4-6, 4-6.
Between 1994 and 1997, Venus rose up in the rankings. In 1997, she shocked the tennis community by reaching the finals of the U.S. Open where she lost to Martina Hingis. Soon after, Serena made her mark on he circuit. Like Venus, she rose fast in the rankins and in 1999, she won her first Grand Slam, the U.S. Open. Venus won her first Grand Slam in 2000 (Wimbledon).