Twenty-two years after the first time, Serena and Venus find themselves competing for the thirtieth time on a tennis court. In the surreal silence of Lexington's center court, the 23-time Grand Slam champion manages to contain a false start and, above all, to recover a disadvantage in the third fraction.
Venus does not take advantage of a 40-0 lead in the ninth game, but with the exception of a double fault (bloody at 40-40) it is Serena who makes all the difference. It ends 3-6 6-3 6-4: for the little sister this is the nineteenth victory in the rivalry.
Venus condenses the vast majority of mistakes in the first three games. Needless to say, he clears a handful of balls for the double-break and escapes to 5-2 without particular difficulty. Serena, slow in moving and not very lucid in tactical choices, clings to some impromptu winning solution.
The number fourteen next to the unforced row at the end of the first set, however, tells in a rather exhaustive way the reason for the 6-3 Venus. In reality, Serena does not adopt the big best on the tactical plan, but she still gets a handful of break points in the fourth game and with the help of the serve cancels a dangerous situation of 15-30 in the immediately following one.
Venus, who inevitably finds herself with less fuel in the tank, is saved on two occasions at 2-3 (winning in both cases a grueling arm wrestling on the left diagonal) but at the third chance that puts on the backhand of her little sister she fails to oppose resistance.
The sister challenge finds a third solution for the eleventh time in history. Serena, who obviously arrives with a 6-4 to keep and above all with more energy, turns the light on and off with too much superficiality. She does not take advantage of a break advantage and finds herself forced to recover one, but digs an insurmountable groove on 4-4.
Forced to catch up three-fifteen behind, the twenty-three-time Grand Slam champion invents three winning responses, takes advantage of a double foul at 40-40 and with a winning backhand in length - at the end of one of the toughest exchanges of the match - takes the lead.
WTA Prague, Simona Halep still suffers
Simona Halep's second test in Prague is conditioned by sixteen breaks. But mostly from a back problem. Despite the circumstances, and obviously all the difficulties related to the restart, the number two manages to assert her calling card against the Czech wild card Barbora Krejcikova.
The 3-6 7-5 6-2 which matures after just over two hours of play is definitely an example. The breaks that mark the start are four. The home wild card, which makes fewer mistakes and moves above all better, changes the trend in the fifth game and settles the final push shortly after.
With a 5-2 lead to keep - the son of a 16-2 parzianlone - the 24-year-old Czech manages to cross the first small goal with a very heavy 6-3 on her shoulders. Halep does not shine for continuity: and it is a paradox. Yes, he makes up for a late break at the start of a second and partially re-establishes the hierarchies with a mini-partial of 3-0, but does not take advantage of a 5-2 40-0 advantage and almost completely autonomously puts the opponent back on track.
track on 5-5. After an all-but-soft serve, the world number two manages to take advantage of the sixth useful set point and erase some negative feelings. After the intervention of the physiotherapist, and two other extremely negative games, the Romanian in fact eliminates the unforced errors from the technical package, calms down and with a mega-partial of 6-0 manages to survive a decidedly complicated afternoon.
Even Eugenie Bouchard, the only non-European in the Prague draw, sits at least in the quarter-finals in the second tournament in Europe on red. After the rather clear victory against Veronika Kudermetova, the twenty-six year old Canadian notes the qualified Tamara Zidansek in the notebook of the victims.
Even if she doesn't take advantage of a set and a break behind and is forced to completely rearrange her ideas in the third. At the threshold of three hours of play, almost as expected, also thanks to a very good percentage of points in response, the two-time Grand Slam finalist manages to secure the success at 7-6 (2) 6-7 (2) 6-2.