There are still three more days of Top Seed Open tennis, but the tournament’s main event was held today on Day 5 when sisters Venus and Serena Williams met in the second round of the singles draw. The older sister, Venus, knocked out former World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka to get there; Serena survived a very real scare from Bernarda Pera in the first round, a nightmare situation for the tournament had Williams not come back.
With those matches behind them, Thursday’s meeting between sisters in Top Seed’s second round marked the 31st time Venus and Serena went head-to-head as professionals. Serena won 18 of those 31, but Venus won two of the last three and jumped out early today in Nicholasville by taking the first set, 6-3.
Momentum flipped Serena’s way in the second set and she returned the favor, winning 6-3 and forcing a third set. But then Venus took back over in the third, going up 4-2 on Serena to get within two games from closing it out. Back came Serena though, rallying to get it back to 4-4 and then she broke Venus’ serve in the ninth game and held serve in the tenth to win the third set, 6-4, and thus the match.
We couldn’t have asked for better tennis, even if no one was there to see it.
More notes from Day 5 at the world’s most bizarre, yet awesome, professional tennis tournament:
— Upset special! The tournament’s No. 5 seed, Yulia Putintseva, got whooped by Jil Teichmann, currently ranked No. 63 in the world. Teichmann out the great country of Switzerland beat Putintseva, 6-2, 6-2, to advance to the quarterfinals where she will play American CiCi Bellis.
— Shelby Rogers, who noted the tournament’s hand sanitizer smells like tequila, is also through to the quarters after her win over rising Canadian star Leylah Fernandez. A South Carolina native (S-E-C! S-E-C! S-E-C!), Rogers did it in two sets, winning 6-2, 7-5 in 99 minutes.
— And in the fourth Round of 16 match, a couple of Americans–Cici Bellis and Jessica Pegula–squared off for a spot in the quarterfinals. It was West Coast vs East Coast with Bellis representing San Francisco, California; and Pegula out of Buffalo, New York, which explains why her father power-bombed her mother through a flaming table in the Hobby Lobby parking lot before the match. In the end it was Bellis earning the victory, which you should know because I dropped a spoiler in an earlier bullet point. Moving on…
— In doubles, my favorite team of Sloane Stephens and Bethanie Mattek-Sands were handed an L by Chattanooga, Tennessee’s Hayley Carter and Brazilian Luisa Stefani. That’s all for Stephens and Mattek-Sands as they each lost their first singles matches too.
— My apologies for not mentioning the doubles very often. Is that normal? What’s the ratio of coverage in a tennis tournament? I’m leaning heavy on the singles and still don’t really know what I’m doing there either. Thank you if you’re still reading this. I’m trying. It’s really exciting to have this tournament in the area.
— Is this weird? This is weird.
Serena and Venus are playing.
No fans are allowed.
Time to get creative.
— Tennis Channel (@TennisChannel) August 13, 2020
— Looking ahead, from this point forward everyone will play everyday. All four quarterfinals matches are set to be played tomorrow, then the semis on Saturday and the championship on Sunday.
The tournament can be seen all day on Tennis Channel.