Serena Williams dispatched her older sister in two straight sets 6-1 6-2 on Friday, making the 30th career showdown at Flushing Meadows in New York a one-sided affair.
The 23 Grand Slam winner was literally on fire against her sister, merciless in her blistering returns and making Venus look more like her apprentice.
Venus tried though to salvage things, but it was not just her night as Serena played her best match since her return to tennis after giving birth to her daughter Olympia in September. She played pitch-perfect tennis to outlast her elder sister after 71 minutes on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
However, in her post match interview, Serena showed her sister a lot of respect.
“It’s not easy. She’s my best friend. She means the world to me. She’s supportive of my career and I’m supportive of her career,” Serena said.
“Every time she loses I feel like I do. It’s not very easy but it’s a tournament and we know there’s more to life than playing each other and playing tennis.
“I love her with all my heart. She’s the reason I’m here. She’s the only reason I’m still out here. After God, I definitely owe everything to her.”
Serena next meets Kaia Kanepi, the 33 year-old Estonian star, who beat Rebecca Peterson 6-3 7-6 in an earlier third round match.
Kanepi had defeated Simona Halep 6–2, 6–4 in the first round becoming the first player in US Open history and just sixth in Grand Slam history to beat the top-seeded player in the first round.
Serena and Kanepi last played at this very tournament in 2014, and is the six-time Grand Slam quarterfinalist’ only defeat in a Round of 16 match at a major tournament.
The highly-anticipated encounter between Serena and Venus was their first at the US Open in three years, when they faced off in the 2015 quarterfinals as Serena aimed to complete the elusive Calendar Year Grand Slam.
After each held serve to start the match, Serena quickly caught fire, winning the next seven games to edge ahead a set and a break, even saving a break point early in the second set.
Venus, who reached the semifinals at this event last year – narrowly losing to eventual champion Sloane Stephens – interrupted her sister’s momentum with a service hold, but Serena would not be denied on Friday night. She an insurance break and serving out the victory shortly thereafter.
In all, Serena struck a dazzling 34 winners to just 22 unforced errors – including 10 aces – and won a whopping 88 per cent of points behind her first serve.