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Sibling showdown

Williams sisters to square off Thursday

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Posted: Wednesday March 14, 2001 10:36 PM
Updated: Wednesday March 14, 2001 11:10 PM

  Serena Williams, Venus Williams In their five meetings as pros, Venus Williams (right) leads Serena 4-1. AP

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (AP) -- Venus and Serena Williams each lost just three games in quarterfinals Wednesday to set up a sibling showdown that is a reprise of last year's Wimbledon semifinals.

Venus Williams overpowered Elena Dementieva 6-0, 6-3 in a rematch of the Olympic final in Sydney, also won by Williams.

Serena Williams, the 1999 U.S. Open champion, avenged last year's loss at Flushing Meadows to Lindsay Davenport by breezing to a 6-1, 6-2 win, her sixth in eight matches against Davenport.

In the men's Masters Series second round, Andre Agassi beat Tommy Haas 7-6 (5), 6-3; Pete Sampras defeated Fabrice Santoro 6-3, 3-6, 6-0; and top-ranked Gustavo Kuerten beat Taylor Dent 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-2.

The Williams sisters, who rarely play in the same tournaments except for the Grand Slams, will face each other for only the sixth time as pros.

Venus, last year's Wimbledon and U.S. Open champion, has beaten her sister four times, including a 6-2, 7-6 (3) victory at Wimbledon. Serena's only victory in the sibling rivalry was a 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 decision in Munich, Germany, in 1999.

Although they haven't been matched often, Serena has learned to deal with playing her sister.

"I don't even remember the first match we played against each other, but that was tough. Ever since then, it's been a lot easier for me," Serena said, referring to a 7-6, 6-1 loss to Venus in the 1998 Australian Open.

"I'll just try to stay very focused."

Venus said she will have no trouble getting motivated for the match.

"It's pretty easy because she's really a great player and a tough player. If I don't bring my best game, I'll be defeated," said Venus, at 20, a year older than her sister.

"At the Wimbledon semifinal, I really wanted to win Wimbledon so I guess I played a little better that day. She played me in a final at the Grand Slam Cup [in Munich] and that day I really was scraping to get one set from her because she was really playing well.

"So it's easy to focus; if I don't, the result will be terrible."

The winner of their semifinal on Thursday will face the winner of the match between No. 1 Martina Hingis and Kim Clijsters.

Defending champion Davenport struggled in heat that topped 90 degrees on the stadium court. Her game seemed mostly out of synch, as she flailed at many of Williams' hard groundstrokes.

Venus Williams, sticking mostly to the baseline on the hot afternoon, used accurate groundstrokes to move Dementieva side to side and played patiently until the Russian finally made a mistake.

Agassi fought back from a 4-1 deficit in the first-set tiebreaker and went on to defeat Haas in straight sets.

Sampras took control in the third set to beat Santoro and even his career record against the Frenchman at 3-3.

Kuerten ran his win streak to 14 matches when he outlasted Dent, a 19-year-old from Newport Beach playing his 20th pro match.

Another 19-year-old American, Mardy Fish lost his match after opening with a victory over Mark Philippoussis. Nicolas Kiefer beat Fish 6-4, 6-3 in their second-round match.


 
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