Venus nears Serena showdown at Wimbledon
Venus Williams is no longer the player she once was, on account of the passage of time and the day-to-day ups and downs of an energy-sapping condition.
At age 35, 21 years removed from her first professional tournament, Williams still possesses a dangerous serve, along with the muscle memory that comes with seven Grand Slam singles titles, five at Wimbledon.
And so while it is her younger sister Serena who is ranked No. 1, has 20 major titles and owns a 23-match Grand Slam winning streak as of today, the elder Williams is still in the draw at the All England Club, too - and the siblings are closing in on what would be their 26th all-in-the-family matchup on tour.
"She probably comes back here and, you know, I think, she almost feels like this is home," said David Witt, Venus' coach. "When you have confidence, you have everything. That's with any sport. And I guess when she gets here, it's a confidence thing."
On the hottest day on record in Wimbledon history, with the temperature topping 95 degrees (35 degrees Celsius) - and a terrific day for American women - both Williams sisters won second-round matches: 16th-seeded Venus beat 95th-ranked Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan 7-6 (5), 6-4, while top-seeded Serena defeated 93rd-ranked Timea Babos of Hungary 6-4, 6-1.
Two more wins and the siblings will meet in the fourth round.
"She poses a big threat for me," Serena said about Venus.
They pulled out of doubles on Tuesday, citing "soreness" for Serena, who wants to focus on her pursuit of a fourth consecutive Grand Slam title.
Four other women from the US won yesterday, including two real surprises: 158th-ranked qualifier Bethanie Mattek-Sands eliminated No. 7 Ana Ivanovic, the 2009 French Open champion, 6-3, 6-4; and 47th-ranked CoCo Vandeweghe, the niece of former NBA player and executive Kiki, beat No. 11 Karolina Pliskova 7-6 (5), 6-4.