(April 5th, 2013) -- To say that a lot has happened to Venus Williams
and Serena Williams
since their last on-court meeting in the 2009 WTA Championships in Doha would be an understatement.
After their well-documented health struggles that had some wondering if they would ever play at all again, now both sisters find themselves facing each other in the semifinals of the Family Circle Cup.
This will be the sisters' 24th meeting with Serena leading the overall head to head 13-10. Their last meeting on a clay court was oddly enough the finals of Roland Garros in 2002. Tomorrow will be their first contest in the U.S. since the semis of Miami in 2009.
But despite the multiple times that they have faced off and being so close to each other and that their earlier meetings were sometimes nervy affairs, experience doesn't mean tomorrow will be any easier.
"I think we just both want to win. I think we just both have so much respect for each other's game that makes it probably a little tougher because you know you're not going to get an easy win," said Venus Williams. "You know you have to really just be on your game and play well every single time. So I think that's probably the toughest part."
While Venus has displayed flashes of her classic lightning fast form this week, Serena on the other hand has appeared to struggle more with herself than her opponents. She hasn't dropped a set, but yet Serena has constantly been fist pumping and yelling "Come on!" on almost every point as if she needed that emotional push to get through. But today, she admitted that knowing Venus was able to get through back to back matches was the extra motivation she needed.
"It was really motivating for Venus to win today. I figured if she can win two matches, I have no excuse not to win my two matches," said Serena who like her sister had to play two matches in a row. "It's good. I feel great to be in the semis. Obviously I play Venus. It's never an easy opponent. She's my toughest opponent I've ever played, and I think she's beaten me the most of any player, I think. We'll see how it goes."
While the anticipation for this match will be through the roof, perhaps it's best that we and both women enter this with no expectations. Venus in her press conference looked more upbeat and excited about the prospect of playing Serena. Serena, probably a little tired from just having beaten Lucie Safarova
, looked a little less enthused. But that could be because she enters this match as the favorite. Even if playing Venus over the years has not been her favorite thing to do.
"I don't love playing her. If I win, it's not super excited, and if I lose I'm really not excited, "said Serena Williams. "So I don't know any good ‑‑ I mean for me the best match that we've ever ‑‑ well, one of the best matches was I think it's Doha a couple of years ago was ridiculous. And unfortunately I had to play her again in the final, which I was just dreading because she was playing so well. And I always say Australia in '03 was a really good one."
While advancing to the finals would be an added boost for older sister Venus, in some ways she feels facing her sister in the semis is already a victory.
"I mean obviously this is a great place to play and hopefully we'll be able to play some finals again," said Venus on the semis. "But you know, the last years have been challenging and at some points difficult, but I think in both of our heads we never gave up on tennis or ourselves or belief, and that's what's crucial is that you never stop believing in yourself. And it's not easy, but it's worth it."
Later in her press conference, Serena was asked if she had been able to get in some of her favorite pastime- karaoke - this week. Though Serena hasn't had a chance, she did say that lately she's been into "classic rock" from bands such as Foreigner and Journey.
While it's hard to know what her go-to song is right now, tomorrow's semis between two of the sport's most enduring stars may not quite live up to "Feels Like The First Time" - a nod to their first ever meeting at the 1998 Australian Open, but instead, more like the classic anthem that perhaps best sums up Serena and Venus and their own comebacks from adversity to tomorrow - "Don't Still Believin'".
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)