Sep 8, 2015; New York, NY, USA; Venus Williams of the United States (left) greets sister Serena Williams of the United States after their match on day nine of the 2015 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory

USA TODAY Sports

Liguori: Sister Act, Episode 30

Serena, Venus Williams Meet In US Open 3rd Round

Ann Liguori
August 31, 2018 - 3:00 pm

Serena and her older sister, Venus, will meet for the 30th time Friday night when they play under the lights on the Arthur Ashe Stadium court in a third-round matchup at the U.S. Open. It will be the 16th time they will have played each other in a Grand Slam tournament.

It’s too bad they will meet so early in the championship, but anytime these two legends in the game square off against each other, it’s a treat for tennis fans.

For them? Not so much. They are so close and so competitive as elite athletes that it’s extremely difficult. Through the years, both have spoken about how tough it is to play each other. Venus mentioned recently that she rarely can look her sister in the eye when she plays her. How difficult must it be to put the love and closeness you have for your sister aside and summon the competitive fire they both have, to crush each other on the court?

The sisters first played each other professionally in the second round of the 1998 Australian Open. Venus, 17 years old at the time, defeated her younger sister, Serena, who was then 16 years old.

Serena is 17-12 against Venus, which includes winning the last 10 of those meetings. In the 15 Grand Slam tournaments they’ve played in, Serena has won 10 of those.

Among the two sisters, they have won 121 total singles titles -- Serena with 72, Venus with 49.

Serena has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles. Venus has earned seven.

They each have won four Olympic gold medals.

Their total career prize money earnings are $127 million. Serena has earned $86.3 million of that while Venus’ take is $40.4 million.

The numbers keep coming, but more than the stats and the earnings is the fact that without the Williams sisters, the USA, which once dominated the top of the game, would not have Grand Slam winners to root for.

American Sloane Stephens won the U.S. Open title last year, when there was an all-American women’s semifinals. Stephens was the first American female not named Serena or Venus Williams to win a Grand Slam title since Jennifer Capriati won the Australian Open in 2002. The last American man who won a Grand Slam title was Andy Roddick back in the 2003 U.S. Open.

For 20 years, Venus and Serena have been the American story in tennis. They’ve both overcome injuries, illnesses and tragedy. Quite simply, they’ve thrived despite many challenges. They’ve inspired millions since they came on the tennis scene years ago.

Let’s hope they’ll continue to shine for many years to come. And we’ll continue to savor the Sister Act.

Follow Ann on Twitter at @AnnLiguori.