Sibling rivalry: Serena beats Venus to take 31st meeting

Normally, a ticket to a match between Venus Williams and Serena Williams would be hard to get. But as the Top Seed Open in Lexington, Ky. — the first tennis tournament in the U.S. since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic — was played without fans, their 31st matchup was perhaps the strangest of all.

Both wore masks before taking the court — Serena’s a leopard-print design, Venus’ a light blue medical mask — then Serena came back and won the last four games to beat her older sister 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in a back-and-forth, second-round match.

Venus is 40, and Serena turns 39 next month, making their combined age the highest in a WTA match since 2004, when Martina Navratilova, 47, played Amy Frazier, 31.

Folks could be seen laying on the ground to peek through the opening at the bottom of the fence at the back of the court.

“It definitely felt more relaxed than the stadium at Wimbledon or at the U.S. Open,” said Serena, who leads the series 19-12. “But it still is not like the practice courts.”

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